It was 3:30 p.m. on a hot, late-summer day when a killer F-5 tornado ripped through Plainfield and Crest Hill, killing 29 people, injuring 350 and leveling homes, schools and businesses.
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Wednesday marks the 23rd anniversary of the horrific storm that devastated the community, but, in a twist of fate, put Plainfield on the map as residents helped each other through the days and months following the disaster. Since the tornado struck, Plainfield has grown from a sleepy town of 4,500 to a booming suburb of more than 40,000.
On Wednesday, Plainfield Patch reader shared some photos of post-tornado Plainfield from her family's collection.
You can also check out videos of the destruction left by the tornado onPlainfield native Roy Taylor's website. (Note: Click on the "YouTube" logo to view a larger version of the videos)
Here's what some Patch readers had to say on Facebook (Click here to read all the comments shared on Plainfield Patch's Facebook page):
- Chris L.: I was working orland park police/fire dispatch--i got the call from Plainfield asking for equipment--when I asked what & how much, he said whatever we could send--& I could hear it in his voice--sounded like he was close to tears---never been able to forget that call
- Sara S.: It was scary I was eight and our house was leveled but we were on the road home so we saw the tornado but didnt know it was a tornado because it was so large, but we got to our neighborhood and it was horrible seeing people bloody and everything in ruins. We were so very lucky to not be in our home.
- Belinda L.: We lived in the Crystal Lawn Addition subdivsion and were spared major damage, but 3 houses away, everything was gone. What I remember most was hearing the sound of a train and running down the hall to get under the bed. And, being thankful that I hadn't gone to the grocery store as planned, because the sky looked dark, like there might be a storm coming. It was a life changing experience.
- Dale R.: Reading that brings back so many memories of that day... Living to the east of the mall, we were out of the path of it, but it was still too close. I had three cousins that had houses in the path. One is in Wheatland Plains subdivision and had to completely rebuild there 3 yr old house, and was one of the first houses hit, one on James street, and one in New Crystal Lawns that also had to rebuild. My grandpa came over and took me around to look at all the damage done. I remember how mangled everything was, and at the apartments in Crest Hill people were thrown out into the field across from it and were covered with blue tarps. I think my brother still has a few pieces of stained glass from the Church that my grandpa picked up. I still get chills when reading about it!!
- Amy B.: my grandmother yelling at my friend and I to get inside and would not let me walk home. all the dust flying up from the Cresthill apartments. The paper boy was killed right where I should of been walking. My first best friend was killed in the apartments with his mom and little sister. My oldest son has his middle name as his first name it was also my first day of high school
- Julie F.: I didn't live here then. I was a Freshman at Addison Trail High School. I remember hearing about it on the news, and thinking that Plainfield was so far away from where we lived. I had no idea that 9 years later I would call this place home. We've had our share of scary storms and weather to contend with over the years. It's made me so much more aware of quickly things can change in the skies overhead...
What are your recollections from that day more than two decades ago? Share your memories and experiences in the comments below.