Authorities Search for More Victims After Tornado Hits Arkansas According to Reuters
By Liliana Salgado
LITTLE ROCK, Arkansas (Reuters) – Arkansas first responders on Saturday will sift through debris for more possible victims after a violent tornado cut through the Little Rock and northeastern part of the state, killing at least two people and injuring dozens more.
Officials said the tornado tore through the roofs and walls of many buildings, overturned vehicles, and toppled trees and power lines.
A wave of severe spring weather swept much of the United States on Friday, threatening the nation’s midsection from Texas to the Great Lakes with thunderstorms and tornadoes.
Two Arkansas deaths were reported in Wynne, about 100 miles (160 km) east of Little Rock, Governor Sarah Huckabee Sanders said Friday night.
One person was killed and more than 50 hospitalized in North Little Rock, Pulaski County spokeswoman Madeline Roberts told the Washington Post.
Although more than 30 people were taken to hospitals in the Little Rock area, no one died Friday night, Little Rock Mayor Frank Scott Jr. said, who added that the number is still incorrect.
“It’s really thanks to God that we haven’t had any deaths so far,” Scott told a news conference.
Assistant Sheriff Andre Dyer said one of the areas devastated was the area west of Little Rock, home to 2,100 people.
In Sullivan County, Indiana, three people were killed, Indiana State Police Sergeant Matt Ames said. Police Chief Jason Bobbitt said on Facebook (NASDAQ::) a state of emergency has been declared for the affected areas.
In Belvidere, a city in northern Illinois, one person was killed and 28 injured when inclement weather tore off the roof of a theater during a heavy metal concert.
Belvidere Fire Chief Shawn Schadle said about 260 people attended the concert at the city’s Apollo Theater, which featured Morbid Angel as part of the group’s “Tour of Terror”.
Concert viewer Gabrielle Lewellyn told TV channel WTVO that people took shelter in the basement when the roof collapsed.
“They pulled a man out of the wreckage. I sat with him, held his hand and said everything would be fine. I really didn’t know what else to do,” Lewellyn said.
The chaotic weather comes a week after a series of thunderstorms triggered a deadly tornado that devastated the Mississippi town of Rolling Fork, destroying many of the community’s 400 homes and killing 26 people.