Officials are out in Galatia this morning assessing damage from Tuesday night's storm that ripped up roofs, tore down trees and sent two people to the hospital with injuries.
"We are asking people who don't in the area to stay out of the area to give Ameren room and us room," Village worker Chad Lambert said.
Lambert was riding with Mayor David Harrawood and Saline County Emergency Management Agency Coordinator Allan C. Ninness looking at houses, trailers, pole barns and vehicles damaged or destroyed.
Saline County Central Dispatch received many 911 calls reporting damage and people trapped at 10:10 p.m. Tuesday, according to a press release from the Saline County Sheriff's Office. One person suffered a head injury and was taken by Med-Force EMS to Ferrell Hospital in Eldorado and another person was transported to the hospital by private vehicle.
Lambert said some were injured when their roofs came apart and debris hit them. There remains an element of danger even this morning due to scattered debris.
"As I speak metal is falling out of trees. I better move," Lambert said.
Schools are closed today. Lambert said the chief concern was the village's sewer system. It is being operated with a generator until the power could be restored and there was concern until power is back it could fail and the sewage system could back up.
An area of Walker Street behind the grade school was hit hard as well as the Saline County Housing Authority Apartments.
"One home only has couple of walls standing," Lambert said.
The 206 E. Walker St. home of Harold and Karen Ewell was missing the roof and walls. They and son, Jonathan, hid in closets and were not injured, according to their other son, David Ewell of Herrin who was helping to salvage items.
Several structures were damaged by wind and some have trees on them.
"We got damage to the village barn, severe damage," Lambert said.
At least three people were trapped in three separate residents along Walker Street, according to the sheriff's office.
Saline County Sheriff's Deputies, Galatia Fire Department and Carrier Mills Police assisted in freeing the trapped residents and searching the area for additional injuries.
A preliminary overview gives the appearance the damage was caused by straight line winds, according to the sheriff's office. Though there is much talk the damage may have been due to a small tornado, that determination is made by the National Weather Service, with NWS officials expected to review the damage today.
Lambert praised Ameren for showing up shortly after the storm passed to begin work restoring power due to many lines being down and as of this morning only about 1/4 of the town remained without power.
"About Ameren, they've been nothing less than miraculous working through the night," Lambert said.
Eldorado firefighters responded to a downed service line to a house due to a tree falling on it.
The Saline County Highway Department crews were clearing trees from roads this morning. One was 2 miles north of Eldorado, but most were around Galatia on Allentown Road and Rileyville Road. Texas City Road is under water.
Superintendent Jeff Jones said damage in the rural area was minimal, especially compared to Galatia's mess.
Some trees were also reported down in Carrier Mills. Damage was evident at the Roc One Stop storage building on the north side of U.S. Route 45.