Caraway hit by EF1 tornado

Tuesday, November 5, 2013
Clean-up from the Thursday night tornado began early Friday morning in Caraway.

Clean-up began early Friday morning following the Thursday night EF1 tornado, with winds up to 100 mps, that left major damage to the downtown area and residences throughout the area of Caraway.

The storm damaged most of the downtown buildings, uprooting trees throughout the area, and damaged many residences and churches.

Caraway police officers, firemen and volunteers from the community and surrounding area were out Thursday evening working together confirming everyone was accounted for.

According to Caraway Mayor Barry Riley, the storm came through quickly and there was little warning.

"We were fortunate," Mayor Riley said. "We had kids still out trick or treating. We have a lot of building damage but no children were injured. I have heard of two minor injuries. They were transported by private vehicles for medical treatment.

"We had a great response from the neighboring communities, emergency workers, and volunteers. They helped in the search making sure all of the children were accounted for. Within 30 minutes we had crews helping us."

Several children were kept safe when a resident, Florence Davis, gathered them into a small storm shelter.

Officers went from door to door checking on residents.

Mayor Riley said there were crews from Craighead County, the Department of Correction inmates from Luxora, volunteers, chainsaw crew from the Baptist Association, Arkansas Baptist cooking crews, American Red Cross and many other volunteers to help with the needs of the community. Utility crews worked until all power and services were restored.

"We appreciate all of them," Mayor Riley said.

Lynn Haag, owner of Haag Furniture and Western Auto, said his buildings had been through five tornadoes but this one did the most damage. He has been in business for 47 years.

Most of the comments from Caraway residents helping with the clean-up were the same, "We were blessed, no one was killed."

Owners of the Boyd's Auto Supplies on the main street area said they were having a Halloween party for their children and when they got a quick warning from a telephone call, they just gathered the children in the hallway and the adults covered them. When the roof came off, they could feel the pressure, but all of the children were safe.

In addition to the damage in Caraway, there was some damage outside of Caraway including New Hope Baptist Church which received damage to the church and the new life center.

There is still a lot to be done but workers and volunteers have Caraway on the way to recovery.