Nightly News   |  November 19, 2013

Illinois tornado victims dig through rubble, vow to rebuild

When a massive series of twisters cut through the Midwest on Sunday, all many could do was run for cover in the basements of their homes. NBC’s Kevin Tibbles reports.

Share This:

This content comes from Closed Captioning that was broadcast along with this program.

>>> tonight, amid all that devastation in towns across the midwest there are small signs of hope after that terrible sunday outbreak of tornadoes as hard-hit communities begin to pick back up again. nbc's kevin tibbles is in washington , illinois, again for us tonight.

>> reporter: as the sun rises over devastated washington , illinois, breakfast is hot and ready inside the crossroads united methodist church . it is here where many who have lost everything seek shelter. and others who have also lost everything come to lend a hand.

>> they are here to help.

>> reporter: when this massive series of twisters cut through the midwest sunday, all many could do was run for cover in the basement of their homes.

>> we just had a -- big tornado come through.

>> it happened very fast.

>> reporter: jonathan dan and his four young children locked themselves in a bathroom. then all hell broke loose.

>> my right foot was pinned. and i was able to hear all of my kids, so i knew they were all alive.

>> reporter: jonathan had his two youngest ripped from his arms. then the house was torn away, they were trapped.

>> probably the loudest i ever sang jesus loves me, though.

>> reporter: later, the missing family member was finally found. maggie, the family dog , alive in the rubble. close by, these retirees are busy saving what they can. everything here seems a total loss, and then, a discovery.

>> i found my baby.

>> reporter: power crews from across the midwest are working around the clock as residents line up to get back into their neighborho neighborhoods.

>> we have been knocked down by we'll get back up. we're going to fight and rebuild.

>> reporter: for moms and dads in this town, the treasures that can never be replaced are safe and sound at grandmother's house, there to be hugged and hugged some more. tonight, bulldozers will be brought in to help clear the streets still clogged with debris. and nearby, a week before thanksgiving, it is getting very cold out here.

>> kevin tibbles, live from washington ,