Search & Rescue Efforts Underway in Marmaduke

April 3, 2006 – Posted at 5:39 p.m. CST

MARMADUKE, AR -- Major storms bringing major damage. That was the theme across much of Region 8 Sunday night.

One of the hardest hit areas was the Greene County town of Marmaduke. As the sun rose Monday morning, residents finally were able to see the full wrath of Mother Nature.

"Last night it brought tears to my eyes and today I am just in awe. It is unbelievable," said resident Jeremy Long, "If it was your family, how would you feel?"

At least 50 were injured and taken to local hospitals but luckily, no casualties have been reported. A surprising fact considering the homes that were destroyed.

"We had about 200 destroyed and another 100-150 that the shingles blew off or other damage," said Marmaduke Police Chief Steve Franks as he worked to clear the debris.

With the mass destruction and rapid evacuation came the question.....was anyone left behind?

"We don't have a clear picture of how many people are unaccounted for so we are going through it slowly just to be safe," said Piggott Assistant Fire Chief Charles Minton.

Going into Monday afternoon, about five people were unaccounted for. During the time K8 News was on the scene, another couple checked in, lowering the number of people unaccounted to three.

The search and rescue process wasn't just relegated to those unaccounted. Select residents had the opportunity to go in, to search and possibly rescue those precious meaningful items.

"Just a couple pictures, sentimental stuff, nothing else really to salvage I don't think," said Long, "I just thought I could find a couple things like that."

As Long rummaged through what was left of his house he came across items that he had never even seen before. Items that probably held special meaning to someone.

"Other people's things, I found someone's check, found pictures of someone's kids that I am sure they will want. Somehow under the things that were mine," said Long.

After a night when many Marmaduke residents lost just about all their possessions, for Long a simple picture of a loved one was all he wanted.

"I looked and looked and I don't think I am going to be able to find it," said Long wearily.

Classes in the Marmaduke School District are canceled again Tuesday, however, any available school employees that are able to assist in on-campus cleanup efforts are asked to report to the cafeteria at 8:00 a.m.