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Mock tornado strikes Lombard

Lombard, IL

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E. Edward Street is littered with debris as Lombard holds a full-scale disaster drill simulating a tornado strike on and near the National University of Health Sciences campus on Tuesday, Sept. 29, 2009.
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Lombard holds a full-scale disaster drill simulating a tornado strike on and near the National University of Health Sciences campus on Tuesday, Sept. 29, 2009. A volunteer "victim" with an apparent windshield wipe through his face gets a golfcart ride to his place just before the drill starts.
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A volunteer tornado victim lies under bleachers in a park area with more victims nearby her. Lombard holds a full-scale disaster drill simulating a tornado strike on and near the National University of Health Sciences campus on Tuesday, Sept. 29, 2009.
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A Lombard firefighter checks on the condition of a volunteer tornado victim with a very realistic-looking screw in his temple. Lombard holds a full-scale disaster drill simulating a tornado strike on and near the National University of Health Sciences campus on Tuesday, Sept. 29, 2009.
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Victims lie on and under a deck as Lombard holds a full-scale disaster drill simulating a tornado strike on and near the National University of Health Sciences campus on Tuesday, Sept. 29, 2009.
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Lisle Woodridge Fire Department personnel transport a victim from the house in the background. Lombard holds a full-scale disaster drill simulating a tornado strike on and near the National University of Health Sciences campus on Tuesday, Sept. 29, 2009.
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A Lombard firefighter talks through an emergency roof exit of an overturned school bus lying on its right side about victims in the bus. Lombard holds a full-scale disaster drill simulating a tornado strike on and near the National University of Health Sciences campus on Tuesday, Sept. 29, 2009.

The drill, titled “Operation Perfect Storm,” replicated the effects a tornado would have if it swept across the campus of National University Health Sciences at 200 E. Roosevelt Road. A mock tornado warning was issued at 8:45 a.m., and a tornado hit the area at 9 a.m., with volunteers in place to make actual 911 calls.

“If this was a real event, we would have handled it well,” said Lombard Fire Chief George Seagraves.

A Lombard police officer was the first to respond at 9:06 a.m., and dozens of emergency response vehicles followed suit, including firefighters and paramedics from Glen Ellyn and Wheaton.

Two houses east of the campus on Edward Street that are owned by the university were partially demolished during the drill. One of the homes had smoke coming out of it and firefighters had to gain entrance by breaking down the door and windows, while a garage in back of the house collapsed on a car that contained two individuals.

The other house had four of the 71 volunteer victims that took part in the drill. The left side of the house had been taken away and a car was flipped on its side near the entrance of the house. Firefighters and police officers were aware the drill was taking place today, but did not know the specifics of the disaster.

“Being on the inside and knowing what was supposed to happen, I was very impressed,” said Lombard Police Lt. Scott Watkins, one of the drill’s organizers. “It was almost like they knew the script.”

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