Susan Stephens / WNIJ

It was a year ago today torrential rains triggered a disaster along the Illinois River in LaSalle County. Seven barges crashed into a dam in Marseilles, causing millions of dollars in damage.  

Guy Stephens

In May, JoEllen Fuller told WNIJ her school was just a shell.  She's the Superintendent of the Marseilles School District. The school sustained major damage during spring flooding.

"Dry wall had to be removed. If there was any kind of mold, it had to be removed. Everything has been thoroughly cleaned and disinfected," Fuller said.

After the flood, more than 600 students were displaced and moved to a local church and an old high school. Fuller says most students will be back in the main building by the time school starts August 21st.


Illinois residents in Winnebago and Whiteside counties are now eligible to register for federal disaster assistance.

According to a release from FEMA, federal assistance in Illinois has reached more than $68 million, distributed among 24,000 individuals and households, since May 10.

The latest summary of federal assistance to individuals and households that suffered losses due to the severe storms and flooding between April 16 and May 5 includes:

Susan Stephens / WNIJ

People who live in the Illinois River town of Marseilles will learn more about their options tonight as the recovery from last month’s flooding continues. The Army Corps of Engineers based in Rock Island will host the town hall meeting that starts at 6:00 at the Marseilles American Legion Hall. 


Limited navigation through the Marseilles Lock and Dam has resumed following the elevation of the navigational pool by the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers.

According to the Unified Command, The Marseilles pool was elevated to its navigable level late Wednesday afternoon.

The Coast Guard continues to enforce a Regulated Navigation Area from the Marseilles Lock at mile marker 244.6 to the Gum Creek Light and Daymark at mile marker 247.8.

Susan Stephens / WNIJ

Eleven Illinois counties were declared federal disaster areas Friday evening, paving the way for people and businesses to get more help with flood recovery efforts. President Obama approved Governor Pat Quinn’s request for federal help in the aftermath of mid-April flooding.

Guy Stephens / WNIJ

JoEllen Fuller laughs nervously when asked how last month's floods damaged her school.

"Oh Boy. It was horrible. It was just devastating. The clean-up process is in full swing, everything has been removed. We just have a shell." - Marseilles Supt. JoEllen Fuller