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(FAIRDALE, Ill.) — A tornado slammed the small Illinois town of Fairdale Thursday, killing one person, injuring seven and destroying homes across the town, authorities said.

According to DeKalb County Coroner and County Emergency Services Coordinator Dennis Miller, a 67-year-old woman was found unresponsive in her Fairdale home by family members and was later pronounced dead.

The tornado affected all 40 to 50 homes and structures in Fairdale, a town with just 200 residents, authorities said. Incident commander Pete Polarek said the winds proved to be too powerful.

“There’s some houses that were pushed into a big pile,” Polarek said at a news conference. “Some of the others, all that’s left is a foundation.” 


— Rockford Fire (@RockfordFire) April 10, 2015


Work continues in #Fairdaletornado. All structures in town are damaged. pic.twitter.com/qf2cVTUGlz

— Rockford Fire (@RockfordFire) April 10, 2015

The full extent of the storm’s impact will emerge during the Friday daytime hours, as Fairdale and other area communities assess the damage. The tornado was part of a strong system bringing hail and damaging winds to the Midwest and Plains.

Kirkland Fire Chief Chad Connell, speaking at an overnight news conference, said he expects the region’s tight-knit nature to emerge following the tornado.

“It’s times like now, we really rally around community,” he said.

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