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Storm damages Belleville church, other damage in Metro East

A complete gable roof blown off was scattered throughout the church's parking lot and the neighborhood.

BELLEVILLE, Ill. — Pastor Rick Koonce of Faith Baptist in Belleville had just laid eyes on Main Street minutes before Thursday night’s storm swept through the Metro East.

He got a call from his maintenance man saying the church’s roof was in the parking lot.

The gable roof was scattered through the neighborhood and hit homes.

Another structure, which houses the church’s food pantry, also had roof damage.

A bus used to community members to service and other places also had a caved-in roof.

Debris and downed trees and power lines lined the streets surrounding the church.

“It's pretty crazy. Thankfully nobody was injured," Koonce said.

The pastor told 5 On Your Side it was their 40th year in the community and that they would rebuild and get back to serving.

Just miles away in Freeburg, Illinois, a large tree sat in Devin Ulmer's front yard.

He and his wife were headed to the basement to take shelter with their 6-month-old when the storm hit.

"At about the time we started heading downstairs, we thought we heard all the chairs and tables and stuff on the porch swinging to the side and when I looked out I watched this tree limb. Luckily missed the house but just dropped," Ulmer said.

The couple told 5 On Your Side they had purchased the house a little over a year ago and had plans to cut the trees down.

'It's definitely something that's kind of like a reality check. You think it's just a storm but you realize it's a lot more serious than you realize,” Ulmer added.

Lots of clean-up is in-store in the Metro East.

As the sun went down over the damage, a rainbow came out, a small symbol of hope.

"Although we don't see it in the midst of the tragedy, you know he's [God] got a plan. We're just going to trust him and see what he has for us," 

Crews worked to restore more than 15,000 homes without power in Illinois and Missouri.

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