One year later: Caraway Halloween tornado - KAIT Jonesboro, AR - Region 8 News, weather, sports

One year later: Caraway Halloween tornado

CARAWAY, AR (KAIT) - It's been a year since a tornado tore through Caraway, Arkansas.

A list of buildings were destroyed including a hardware store, furniture store, drug store and funeral home. No one was seriously injured. A year later, and the town is still recovering.

"It's a lot different looking than it was a year ago, we had buildings all the way down there," said Pastor Rick Stevens of First Baptist Church.

The signs of the storm can still be seen around town. But the town has come together to rebuild their community. Halloween night turned really frightening when straight line winds hit the southwest side of town. First Baptist Church was in shambles after the tornado touched down. 

Pastor Rick Stevens can still recall the  significant amount of damage.

"We could hardly get to the door to get in,I could see the roof slammed back so I thought there was going to be quite a bit of water damage inside," he said. 

Many said the storm seemed to come out of nowhere, taking many by surprise. Main Street had the most significant amount of damage but now you can see the transformation. 

"It was about 7:30 at night, we had kids out trick-or-treating , we had kids on Main Street," said mayor, Barry Riley.

He remembers surveying the damage just minutes after the storm touched down. He said the tornado hit a transformer and they had just enough time to sound the sirens. Soon, the whole town was dark.

"There was one home that was completely destroyed, there was 11 business buildings that we had to tear down because of the tornado," he said. "It's been pretty tough on us, we're trying to find people who want to come back and re-build and build in our city to believe in our city.”

The city has also made some changes since last year. Riley said they are working to upgrade their radio system and revise their evacuation plan. 

A new building is taking the spot of True Value Western Auto Store owned by the Haag family. Merett Emery bought out their inventory and decided to build The Caraway General Store.

"The Haag's store was a vital part of just surviving here," Emery said.

A general store hopes to open in December. There is also a car lot moving in across the street. 

Copyright 2014 KAIT. All rights reserved.

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