• Syndicate content
  • Comment

Updated: Mayflower, Vilonia closed to traffic after tornado

Blankets, pillows needed at Mayflower shelter

Posted: April 28, 2014 - 1:12am
  Image of Mayflower from storm chaser Brian Emfinger's drone video
Image of Mayflower from storm chaser Brian Emfinger's drone video

Mayflower and Vilonia will both be effectively locked down today with only search-and-rescue crews and other emergency workers allowed in. 

All roads in to the towns will be blocked to other traffic, according to FCSO Chief Deputy Matt Rice. 

One deputy at a roadblock on Highway 64 about half a mile west of downtown Vilonia said late Sunday night that nobody was getting in "without a badge and heavy ID."

At the command center set up at the Vilonia Primary School, dozens of volunteers came and went, many carrying medical supplies and food and water into the school cafeteria there. The roads in and out of the worst-hit area of Vilonia, including downtown, were closed Sunday night, and people were being asked to stay away. 

"Right now we've got plenty of people in there," Rice said.

Authorities are not asking for volunteers with heavy equipment at this point, Faulkner county Sheriff Andy Shock said at around 1:30 a.m.

"We have lots of resources coming in," Shock said, but shelters established for victims may need volunteers. The Oak Bowery Baptist Church at 889 Otto Road between Mayflower and Vilonia has established a shelter, Shock said, and volunteers are needed there, as they may be at other shelters as they are set up.

There is a shelter established at the Vilonia High School, and at the Mayflower High School and Middle Schools. Some Mayflower residents were bussed to another shelter at the Antioch Baptist Church in Conway, Rice said. 

A news release issued by county officials at about 4:30 a.m. said that the Mayflwoer shelters needed blankets, pillows, cots and snacks. John Pipkins or Doug Jones will accept donations there. 

The tornado followed a similar path as the 2011 tornado, according to Rice, but he said that wheras that on was off the ground for a good distance before touching down near Vilonia, Sunday nights tornado was on the ground from Mayflower through to Vilonia and further. There were reports of damage in El Paso.

Affected areas also include the Mayflower Plantation, Queen's Manner and Black Oak Ranch Estates subdivisions; as well as the White City, Beryl Road and Rocky Point Road areas, according to Rice. 

There have been several fatalities. Rice said that he could confirm four people killed in Faulkner County as of 12:15 a.m., "but there's probably going to be more." County Coroner Pat Moore had confirmed seven deaths as of about 2 a.m., according to a news release issued by County Attorney David Hogue, the county's designated public information officer. 

There is a boil order in Mayflower, according to this release, which says that there will be a press conference in Mayflower at 10 a.m.

Another news release issued at around 4:30 a.m. says there will be a press conference in Vilonia at 8 a.m.

Cain Weaver and Ellen Burgess were among the Mayflower residents displaced by the storm. Weaver said he was listening to a radio scanner app on his phone Sunday evening, and when he heard that a tornado was on the ground ouside of Maumelle, he and Burgess got in their car and headed for I-40 westbound. He said they got out about 10 minutes before the tornado struck at Mayflower. 

They drove all the way to Morrilton, escaping the storm. Friends and neighbors told them over the phone that there was a gas leak and house on fire in Mayflower, and to not try to get back into town Sunday night, they said. 

"A friend of mine said it looked like a war zone," Weaver said.

They've heard that all of their friends are safe and unhurt, they said. They were planning to stay in Conway until later this morning, when they're going to try to take food, charcoal and water back to their neighbors. 

The extent of the damage will be known at first light. Check back at thecabin.net for updates through the day. 

 

 

  • Comment
Comments (2) Add comment
ADVISORY: Users are solely responsible for opinions they post here and for following agreed-upon rules of civility. Posts and comments do not reflect the views of this site. Posts and comments are automatically checked for inappropriate language, but readers might find some comments offensive or inaccurate. If you believe a comment violates our rules, click the "Flag as offensive" link below the comment.
Citizen of Conway
159
Points
Citizen of Conway 04/28/14 - 10:13 am
1
0
Relief

If the roads are closed, how do we get stuff to the relief centers in Mayflower and Vilonia?

mikeng1994
10201
Points
mikeng1994 04/28/14 - 12:19 pm
2
0
check and see if the National

check and see if the National Guard Armory is accepting supplies. It really is best if y'all stay out of there and let recovery crews do their jobs with out the excess traffic clogging up the roads.

Back to Top