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Tornado damages Illinois hospital

March 1, 2012

Harrisburg (IL) Medical Center, located about 100 miles southeast of St. Louis, was struck by a powerful tornado early yesterday that damaged the facility, but not before the hospital was able to move patients to safety in interior areas. According to the Illinois Hospital Association, the hospital treated at least 50 incoming patients with head trauma, chest injuries, broken bones, cuts and bruises. Some patients were transferred to Heartland Regional Medical Center in Marion due to the loss of Harrisburg's heating and air conditioning system. While no patients or onsite staff were injured, a 22-year-old nurse who worked at the hospital was one of six people killed offsite. According to news reports, the twister roared through the rural community with winds of up to 170 miles per hour just before 5 a.m. Wednesday, part of a storm system that generated a number of tornadoes through the region. Illinois Gov. Pat Quinn yesterday issued a disaster proclamation for the state, which will aid in coordinating resources to support recovery efforts and facilitate requests for federal disaster assistance.