A tornado touched down in Keiser, Arkansas Saturday night, according to the National Weather Service.
Sunday afternoon, the National Weather Service sent crews out to survey damage. Their preliminary report says they saw up to 90 mile per hour winds, which makes it a EF-1.
For the next several days, emergency crews and residents of Keiser, Arkansas will be busy cleaning up the damage and dozens of families may have to completely rebuild their homes.
Gary Gardner and his family were at home during the tornado and rushed to their storm room.
“There were 8 of us in there and when they called for bad weather we get over there and get inside of it. Thanks goodness we had that,” Gardner explained. “And if you’re not scared of a storm, it’s because you probably haven’t been close to one,” he stressed.
Holding back tears, Garner is thankful the damage to his home was minimal, but that was not the case for other buildings like The Keiser Supply Company and the town’s public library.
“It’s not in just one general location it is scattered out into like 7 or 8 different areas,” said the Mayor of Keiser Sandra Smith.
Now the focus is on clean-up efforts. The First Baptist Church of Keiser has been deemed a hub for anyone who may need assistance.
“We were able to clean up pretty quickly and kind of clear the space here, so we can have some tables up. And then all of a sudden people just started to pull-up with all type of supplies, water, paper towels, buckets, gloves,” said Todd Vinson, pastor of First Baptist Keiser Church.
It’s that camaraderie that’s helping this small town of roughly 800 people get back to some sense of normalcy.
“Removing trees. We’ve got power lines going back up. Posts being put up. Just the people who have turned out in mass force to try to overcome some of this devastation,” Smith explained.
“When you realize your family is involved it’s very scary, but we’ve prepared. We were blessed. The Lord spared us,” Gardner said.
If you’d like to help with recovery efforts in Keiser, you can contact the American Red Cross or the First Baptist Church of Keiser. The church’s phone number is (870) 526-2604.