Despite a handful of blown-down trees and some extended power outages, officials in both Brookfield and Riverside said last Friday’s powerful storms generally spared the villages the kind of damage seen in neighboring communities.
At about 4 p.m. on Friday, a line of thunderstorms and accompanying winds that topped 50 mph caused widespread damage to trees in places like Westchester, Oak Park, River Forest and Forest Park.
In Riverside, Forester Michael Collins said that apart from a handful of downed trees, the village was largely unscathed. After making his way through the village Monday, Collins said there are six trees targeted for removal on the public way.
“If anything, it’s a testament to the fact that the village has been taking care of its trees,” Collins said.
A large hackberry tree was toppled in Swan Pond, a huge elm tree snapped at its base in the park area along Fairbank Road and a silver maple was blown down on Northgate Road. Meanwhile, Delaplaine Road was closed until nearly 5 p.m. Friday by a large tree branch sheared from the top of a tree at the north end of the Big Ball Park. The top of a tree on Quincy Street was also sheared off. While that damage wasn’t mortal, Collins said, the tree will likely need to be removed in the future.
“The biggest problem was power outages,” said Assistant Fire Chief John Buckley.
Jeff Burdick, a spokesman for ComEd, said that more than 550,000 customers lost power in the Chicago area as a result of the storm, which came in two waves on Friday evening.
By Monday morning 13,500 customers were still without power, including 1,500 in a 30-community suburban area that includes the Landmark coverage area. The northwest suburbs were hit particularly hard, Burdick said.
Power was out to many customers in the first and second divisions, south of the railroad tracks. Power was also interrupted in the Pine/Forest/East Avenue area.
The Riverside village offices, police and fire departments ran on generator power until 10 p.m. Saturday, said Buckley.
But from a damage standpoint, “the impact was really minimal, luckily,” Buckley said.
The story was similar in Brookfield, with scattered reports of damage but wider reports of power outages. In the wake of Friday’s storm events, according to Brookfield Fire Capt. Ed Bermann, the department responded to 11 storm-related calls and three more on Saturday.
A large tree fell into an alley in the 9300 block of Jefferson Avenue, knocking out power. An area just north of Eight Corners was without power until Saturday night. Meanwhile, on the south side of town, the main fire station itself was running on generator power until Sunday morning.
Public Works Superintendent Al Kitzer’s crews were cleaning up storm debris Monday and would continue through the early part of the week.
“We were spared major damage but we still have several days’ worth of work to do,” Kitzer said. “The village of Brookfield was fortunate. In this storm, we didn’t have as much damage as other towns.”