WASHINGTON, Ill. (CBS) — Many residents in downstate Washington were getting their first chance to return to what’s left of their homes on Friday, five days after a violent tornado ripped much of the small town to shreds.

CBS 2’s Chris Martinez reports, of the approximately 1,000 homes damaged or destroyed by Sunday’s tornado, the Georgetown Commons apartment complex was among the first hit.

Virtually all of the units now sit in ruins, nearly every one of them a total loss. Most of the cars parked there have been turned into crumpled messes – at least one wrapped around a tree.

After five days of waiting to get back into their damaged homes, residents were unsure what they’d find that they can salvage. Friday was the first time people who lived at the Georgetown Commons were allowed back inside.

Each resident was given only 30 minutes to find and pack up whatever they can save, some knowing they won’t be able to save anything at all.

“The community and just really people from all over have really done a good job of stepping up, and helping out, and … just giving some relief to these people,” Pastor Tim Beddingfield said. “It’s a sad thing.”

Also Friday, U.S. Sen. Dick Durbin (D-Ill.) was scheduled to tour some of the worst of the damage in Washington, including at the Georgetown Commons.

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