12 people rescued from Grubsteakers restaurant storm cellar

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Friday, April 10, 2015
12 people rescued from restaurant storm cellar
Raymond Kramer, 81, was one of 12 people trapped in Grubsteakers' storm cellar for about 90 minutes.

ROCHELLE, Ill. -- Tornado damage has been reported by police in Rochelle, Ill., and state emergency officials say a team has been sent to look at the area.

PHOTOS: Tornadoes, hail, lightning in Chicago area

A Rochelle restaurant named Grubsteakers was severely damaged by the storm. Raymond Kramer, 81, said he pulled over at Grubsteakers at his wife's insistence, just minutes before the storm struck.

"I stood at the door taking pictures of the tornado coming at me, and finally the owner of the restaurant said, 'Everybody in the basement right now!'," Kramer said. "And no sooner did we get down there when it hit the building and laid a whole metal wall on top of the doors where we went into the storm cellar."

Kramer was trapped along with 11 others - including the restaurant owners and staff - in the storm cellar for about 90 minutes.

"When the tornado hit, we all got a dust bath. Everyone in there got shattered with dust and debris falling out of the rafters," Kramer said.

Emergency crews had to remove debris to free them from the cellar. No one was injured, Kramer said.

Eric Widick, of Rochelle, lives near Grubsteakers. He he headed over to the restaurant as soon as the storm passed.

"Just saw the restaurant was flattened and there was a semi. There was a garage that set behind the restaurant and there was a semi on its side where the garage used to be," Whiting said. "Your heart goes out to them but as you said we're a community and if one person's in need, we're all going to be there."