'Starting over at age 75' after tornado hits Washington, Ill.

Written By Sun-Times Wire Posted: 11/17/2013, 06:49pm

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WASHINGTON, Ill. – Under the light of a full moon, Phil and Carmen Jones carried “the important stuff” to their car.

The Jones were in church when Sunday’s deadly, destructive storms blew through tiny Washington, IL. Just before service, Carmen Jones recalls the preacher telling everyone to go to the basement.

“We were singing in the basement with all the kids,” she said.

After the storm passed and the congregation could emerge from their shelter, the damage was clear. When the Joneses returned home, their home was destroyed.

But all was not lost. The couple, who have lived in their home for 40 years, found their two Yorkshire terriers alive and well. “I found them under the bed … where good puppies belong,” Phil Jones said.

Not sure where they would sleep tonight, the Jones packed up their dogs and their clothes in the back of their sedan. Phil Jones did his best to shut the door to what remained of their home – the roof is completely gone, their garage is missing and the windows are blown out.

“Nothing like starting over at age 75,” he said.

“We don’t have to rip that wallpaper off now,” Carmen Jones replied.

Carmen Jones loads what she and her husband, Phil, could salvage from the home after it was destroyed in Sunday's severe weather. | Jessica Koscielniak / Sun-Times

Carmen Jones loads what she and her husband, Phil, could salvage from the home after it was destroyed in Sunday’s severe weather. | Jessica Koscielniak / Sun-Times

MORE: The Destruction in central Illinois.

MORE: Photos from Washington and other central Illinois areas hit Sunday.

MORE: Video report from the scene of devastation.

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