A Naplate woman is safe after severe weather tore through the area Tuesday night—but she suffered a uniquely heartbreaking loss.

Laura Manu’s parents recently died and she had been collecting their things on the front porch.

“It was all sentimental stuff—and there’s no saving it now,” she said, crying in the rain.

Manu’s loss was its own brand of heartache, but elsewhere in the small village of Naplate and neighboring city of Ottawa, homes and businesses were torn apart.

The mayor of Naplate, James Rick, his hair matted by the rain, described scenes of chaos to reporters.

“We’d seen stuff flying through the air; signs, parts of roofs and tree limbs,” he said.

In Ottawa, where one person was confirmed dead and more than a dozen sent to the hospital, streets were impassable and neighbors were in shock.

“I ran downstairs, I was watching out the basement window and it just went right over the top of us,” said Mike Claggett.

Trees were uprooted, in at least one instance pulling up concrete slabs of pavement from a nearby sidewalk. Frayed wires sagged from poles dangerously over streets and walkways.

And while residents in the two communities are beginning to clean up—they will likely not forget this night and the havoc wrought in LaSalle County.

“I didn’t hear nothing, I didn’t hear nothing, my ears started popping, that’s what told me to get downstairs,” Manu recalled as she stood outside of the home where she lost so much.

Published at 11:44 PM CST on Feb 28, 2017 | Updated at 11:49 PM CST on Feb 28, 2017

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