HIGHLAND, AR (KAIT) – Five years following the devastating round of tornados on Feb. 5, 2008, the Highland community continues to rebuild.
Fire Chief Kal Dienst, who was a firefighter when the tornados came, gave Region 8 News a tour of the business district in Highland that was hit.
Firefighters found their station had been destroyed during rescue and recovery efforts that Tuesday evening.
"When one of the firemen went to get the rescue equipment to help cut the man out of the vehicle they discovered that the fire station was pretty much demolished," Chief Dienst said. "They actually dug through the rubble to get the Jaws of Life unit and put it in the back of a pick-up truck to haul it to the scene."
The new Highland Fire Department was built in the two years following the tornado on a plot of land where a shopping center used to stand before the tornado demolished it.
Chief Dienst says help came to the fire department from all over Region 8, and the new building has features not available in the previous one. "There were some departments that loaned trucks for short term until we get some stuff situated because we actually I believe, only had one truck operable immediately after that," he said. "We've got a lot better facility for training the firemen. We've actually hosted several training sessions here for people in and around Sharp County."
China Garden owner Kandi Weng says the community also helped revive her family-owned restaurant. "Local people just helped me a lot, and church people too."