Bridget Casey was asleep when she was awakened by her smartphone alarm -- just as her Woodridge home took a direct hit from the tornado.
“I thought, ‘Why is there wind in the room?’” the 39-year-old Casey said Monday.
Casey’s next thought was to find her three sons and daughter in their now-roofless house on the 7800 block of Woodridge Drive. She recalls feeling the rain and attic insulation swirling around her.
“I want to say I heard the sirens, but it was right simultaneously as everything was happening,” said Casey, who also remembers hearing her youngest sons crying. “There was no chance to even react.”
Her eldest son, Nathan, was in the basement when he heard his phone alert.
“The next thing you know, I heard a crash upstairs,” the 16-year-old said. “I go upstairs, and I see the sky.”
Nathan had to help beat open a stuck door to rescue one of his younger brothers. Then the family took shelter in the basement, luckily with no injuries.
Bridget Casey estimates that around 20 minutes later, she received a call from the Lisle-Woodridge Protection District seeking the status of people in the house. Only later, when they exited from the basement through a window, did they see the full extent of the damage to their home, with its missing roof and exposed rooms.
“Everything was a blur,” said Casey, who was thankful her family was able to shelter overnight with their neighbor, Lani Nishimura.
Casey made a point to retrieve her husband’s ashes, some family photos and her purse. Meanwhile, Nathan rescued his guitars.
“I don’t want to try to move too much stuff,” Bridget Casey said, concerned about the insurance assessors evaluating the damaged items.
Waiting outside her home Monday morning, Casey fielded multiple press interviews. She and her family plan to stay with relatives.
“Everybody’s safe,” she said. “The kids are fine, and that’s all that matters.”