1949 fire survivor weathers major storm in rural Effingham


EFFINGHAM COUNTY, Ill. (WAND) – As the storm cleared in Effingham County on Wednesday morning, glass, sheet metal and wood could be seen for a half a mile down the road from Anita Sidener’s home.

"In your wildest dreams I don't think you ever think it will hit you, you hear about it hitting someone else, but I don't think you ever really think it will hit you," said Sidener.

Tuesday evenings storms passed through the area of Fayette and Effingham counties, leaving behind overturned trailers, downed trees and showed no mercy on Sidener’s property.

Hundreds of dollars in damage was done to her combine and the equipment on her family farm. One of the buildings was built by Sidener and her husband. Now it sits in a pile of rubble.

"Sheds alone, you're looking at a hundred thousand dollars. Grain bins... I couldn't tell you that, but equipment depends on what the insurance says, but you're looking at a hundred thousand dollars there."

Sidener is the remaining survivor of the St. Anthony’s Hospital Fire, which happened on April 4, 1949.

Sidener’s grandson, James said it’s difficult to see the property the way it is.

"I just feel sorry for my grandma because her and my grandpa built all this. That's the saddest thing about all this," said James.

The community of West Township is stepping up and making sure Sidener and her family have everything they need.

"We've got a good community out here all the family and friends out here they come and help. That's the good thing about a small town everyone pitches in."

The National Weather Service in St. Louis ruled that an E-F 2 tornado did hit Fayette County. The NWS in Lincoln was still surveying the damage in Effingham County to determine if a tornado hit that area.

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