Tornado Scars Richton Park

Richton Park Apartments
A tornado ripped through the Richton Square Apartments Saturday evening. (Photo: Wendy Heise)

Story updated at 10:13 a.m. with comments from Richton Park Mayor Rick Reinbold 

Richton Park , IL–(ENEWSPF)– A tornado estimated at times to be 1/2 mile wide touched down in Richton Park and University Park Saturday evening around 6:30 p.m. The storm gathered fury in Frankfort and Monee, unleashing its full strength as it crossed Interstate 57 and entered Richton Park. As of late Sunday afternoon, I-57 was still closed completely between the Sauk Trail and Monee exits.

Richton Park Mayor Rick Reinbold said the tornado touched down twice, “It touched down in the Lincoln Crossing neighborhood, and then touched down again in the Richton Square Apartments. We had damage to some single family homes in the Lincoln Crossing subdivision and the Richton Square Apartments. There was also damage to some of the commercial properties on Sauk Trail.”

“It’s really miraculous that no one was injured. It literally sounded like a train coming through, and that was five or six blocks away.”

Reinbold said Richton Park Public Works was out clearing debris, but there has been no final determination of the scope of the damage, “At this time we’re still doing our assessment.”

Officials in Richton Park did an Emergency Declaration Saturday, the first step toward receiving federal and state assistance.

Reinbold stressed that anyone who sustained property damage check the credentials of service providers, “Make sure the contractors you’re dealing with are licensed contractors.”

The mayor expressed his gratitude to the Village of Matteson, which sent over public works assistance and equipment to help with tree clean-up. He was also grateful to Park Forest Village Manager Tom Mick who found Reinbold on the streets of Richton Park within an hour of the passage of the tornado, offering his card and assistance from Park Forest. Reinbold said he also received a phone call “within an hour” from U.S. Senator Barack Obama’s Chief of Staff, asking about the damage caused by the tornado, offering assistance as well.

The following photographs taken by Wendy Heise are from the Richton Park Apartments damaged in the storm.

richton-park-apts-0608088093a-wheise.jpg

richton-park-apts-0608088094a-wheise.jpg

Richton Park Apartments

Richton Park Apartments

Richton Park Apartments

Richton Park Apartments

Richton Park Apartments

Richton Park Apartments

Photographs by Wendy Heise

Gary Kopycinski contributed to this story.