Recovery efforts underway in Arkansas following catastrophic tornado

TRUMANN, Ark. — Storm recovery efforts were well underway in Trumann, Ark., Monday, as crews worked to make repairs to downed power lines and damaged homes after Friday’s tornado.

Trumann Fire Chief Revis Kemper told FOX13 while there is still a lot of work to be done, crews had made progress in recovery efforts over the weekend.

“It’s 100% better,” said Chief Kemper. “I know it looks bad but it is 100% improvement and things are going a lot smoother than I expected.”

Kemper said as of Monday morning, less than 1,000 customers in the city remained without power.

In a Facebook post, the Trumann School District canceled in-person school on Monday due to the outages at its schools.

Among the estimated 200 homes and buildings destroyed or damaged by Friday’s tornado was the city’s main fire station, where Chief Kemper said firefighters escaped safely.

“You could tell they were just devastated but nobody was hurt,” said Kemper. “There was three guys in it but - they were scratched, dinged up - but not injured.”

The damage left behind showed a clear path of the tornado. It ripped the roof off the fire station on Main St. blowing the mangled metal across Highway 463. Monday morning, part of the roof was still lodged in a tree and wrapped around a memorial to veterans. A rocket at the memorial had been broken in two.

“This rocket was put out here in 1969, it’s kind of a landmark,” said Ron Taylor, Commander, American Legion Post 42. “It makes me real sad. I’ve worked hard out here at the park for as long as I can remember along with other people. To see this much damage just makes me sick you know. A lot of people from Trumann has got family out here, loved ones. But I think we can rebuild.”

Those wanting to help were also on the scene Monday morning. Chief Kemper said anyone wanting to donate can do so at the Sports Complex, which is on Pecan Grove behind the Walmart. Volunteers can also meet there. A citywide cleanup effort is tentatively scheduled to begin at the complex Saturday at 7 a.m.