August 28, 1990, a day that changed Plainfield forever, and remains in the memories of those that endured the tragic F5 tornado that ripped through the village. While just a child, the memory and stories of hiding in the central closet of our home as the tornado levelled the entire neighborhood less than a block away, have and will remain to stick with me for the rest of my life. It was the first tornado ever, since records started in 1950, to reach above an F3 in the month of August in Illinois.
It was a beautiful, although hot, summer day with a heat index reaching 98 degrees. The system that would eventually product an F5 tornado, started near Janesville, Wisconsin around 1:30pm and moved South, producing tornados and severe weather along the way. Between the times of 3:15 and 3:45, the system dropped a tornado on the Plainfield area, which travelled 16.4 miles, and was up to a half mile wide. By the end of it all, the tornado caused an estimated 160 million dollars in damage, 470 homes completed destroyed, and over 1000 damaged. Most importantly of all, it took the lives of 29 people, and injured more than 350.
Plainfield remembers these 29 lives with a black granite triangle shaped memorial, located on Fort Beggs drive, near Plainfield Central High School.
Those who lost their lives on this terrible day;
Alice Jean Johnson, Thomas Thayer, Phoumy Senephimmachac, Henry T. Berquist, Stephen P. Hunt, Pat Skoien, Howard Hawes Jr., Sr. Mary Keenan, Gloria Sanchez, Vicki J. Egizio, Thomas Egizio, Leslie Egizio, Virginia Lydon, Charles Likes, Sarah Brower, Ryan R. Glaser, Janis Granat, James Pullen, Patricia Sue Combs, Frank Riffel, Alida Riffel, Leticia Herrod, Tatiana Brown, Eddie Lee Jr., Brian Paul Strohm, Eric Wilson, James L. Niccum, and James E Kachel.
On the back side of the memorial is a dedication to the volunteers that helped in the recovery efforts, as well as a map of the tornado’s path as it tore through the Plainfield area.