CROSSVILLE — Illinois Governor Bruce Rauner visited the community of Crossville Thursday, where residents are still recovering after a tornado ripped through the area Feb. 28.
"A number of families have lost their homes here in Crossville — our hearts go out to them, our thoughts, our prayers are with their families," Gov. Rauner said in a press conference in front of one of the several damaged homes on County Road 1935 East.
The governor was joined by James Joseph, director of the Illinois Emergency Management Agency, and Leo Schmitz, director of the Illinois State Police. Together they visited with families, including the family of Thomas McCord, 71, who was killed when the tornado struck his property.
"We want to express our condolences to his wife, son and grandson — what a terrible tragedy," Gov. Rauner said.
Gov. Rauner also made residents aware of state programs that could provide financial assistance to those who need it.
"Our Emergency Management Agency is here, they're offering to help with the cleanup and to make sure people have equipment, food, blankets and assistance with insurance. We want to make sure the insurance companies are responsible," he said.
Joseph said he made a personal phone call on behalf of the governor to ensure the people of Crossville have access to everything that the state can offer during the recovery process. He also said about 80 percent of residences now have gas turned back on, and officials are working diligently to fix the gas problem so people can heat their homes.
Crossville is one of many affected areas in Illinois that Gov. Rauner has been surveying over the past two days. On Wednesday the governor made a stops in LaSalle County, where 64 out of 200 homes were destroyed in Naplate and two men were killed in Ottawa.
Through the all of the tragedy, Gov. Rauner praised the work of local police, firefighters, and other emergency personnel, as well as the friends and neighbors who are helping with cleanup efforts.
"Illinois a wonderful place because we come together to help each other in times of need and that's what's happening here," Gov. Rauner said.
The National Weather Service has given the tornado a preliminary EF-3 rating. The tornado also touched down in Poseyville, Fort Branch and Owensville, Indiana, damaging homes and causing widespread power outages.