Faulkner sheriff: 'Utter devastation' after storm - KNOE 8 News; KNOE-TV; KNOE.com |

Faulkner sheriff: 'Utter devastation' after storm

Posted: Updated:
UPDATE:

VILONIA, Ark. (KNOE 8 News/KTHV) -
Multiple people died and there is mass destruction following a tornado that swept through central Arkansas Sunday night.

The Arkansas Department of Emergency Management (ADEM) said they are responding to multiple fatality reports in Vilonia, White County, and Faulkner County. The tornado ripped through the area around 7 p.m. and continued creating destruction for more than an hour. It was first spotted in the Pinnacle Mountain/Maumelle area, then moved up to Mayflower, then to Vilonia, and over to Searcy.

Interstate 40 in both directions near Mayflower is shut down due to multiple wrecks, including overturned trucks and destroyed vehicles.

The numbers are mixed on the numbers of fatalities.  KTHV is reporting 10 confirmed dead.  Gov. Mike Beebe has declared that 8 have died in the storms.  Gov. Beebe, as well as, Rep. Tim Griffin are in Vilonia surveying damage.



ORIGINAL STORY:

MAYFLOWER, Ark. (AP/CBS KTHV) - The Faulkner County sheriff says damage is widespread in the county from Sunday's severe storms.

Sheriff Andy Shock says there is "utter devastation" in the county. The sheriff tells Little Rock television station KTHV that multiple areas in Faulkner County have damage from the storms.

Shock says family members are searching for missing relatives and that there is much confusion. He says the county needs "a lot of prayers right now."

A medical triage area is set up at a parking lot of a home-improvement store in Mayflower. The center's commander, Maj. Ken Ekenscair, said four people have been taken to hospitals from the triage area, but he did not know the extent of their injuries.

CBS affiliate KTHV reports multiple people have died. The Arkansas Department of Emergency Management (ADEM) said they are responding to multiple fatality reports in Vilonia, White County, and Faulkner County. The tornado ripped through the area around 7 p.m. and continued creating destruction for more than an hour. It was first spotted in the Pinnacle Mountain/Maumelle area, then moved up to Mayflower, then to Vilonia, and over to Searcy.

Interstate 40 in both directions near Mayflower is shut down due to multiple wrecks, including overturned trucks and destroyed vehicles.

Homes in Mayflower and Vilonia are flattened, according to Major Andy Shock with the Faulkner County Sheriffs Office. At least six people were confirmed dead as of 9:45 p.m., and Shock expects that number to rise before the night is over. Brandon Morris with ADEM said one person is confirmed in White County.

"It's just devastating," Shock said over the phone Sunday night.

Deputy Coroners are scouring the area looking for people; the worst hit area seems to be South Beryl Road, according to Shock.

Morris said his agency is receiving requests for more ambulances and requests for National Guard help to clear congested roads in the area. The two roads needing the most attention, according to Morris, is I-40 and Highway 365 in Faulkner County.

While some volunteer organizations are working to help the area, Morris asks that individuals do not attend to the areas themselves.


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