UPDATE: Winds Close Highway, Leave Rantoul Industrial Park In Dark
By Jim Meadows
Rantoul’s police chief says it may be at least 48 hours before electricity is restored to the industrial park on the west side of town.
Chief Paul Farber says straight-line winds hit the area, knocking down power poles along U-S Route 136, and damaging trees and at least one building in the industrial park.
State Police say a couple of miles Route 136 west of I-57 could be closed for 24 to 36 hours, while the power poles and power lines are repaired.
LaQuata Shedd of Rantoul says she was working in the production area of the Conair Corporation plant in the industrial park when the winds hit, around 8:05 AM. She says the lights went out and the emergency lights went on.
“We heard all types of rumbling and something all around, and it sounded like everything was going to crash”, said Shedd.
It turned out that the winds had damaged the front part of the Conair building. Conair and other businesses in the industrial park dismissed their workers for the day, and some have cancelled first shift for tomorrow. Chief Farber says the only way work can continue in the industrial park right now is if a business brings in its own generator.
Farber says he doesn’t know of any serious injuries from the winds. While the property damage is still being assessed, he says it’s fortunate that the winds left the main part of Rantoul unscathed.