Residents recall evacuating due to gas leak

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WYNNE, Ark. (KAIT) - The overnight and early morning storms caused damage across Region 8, including a gas leak in Wynne that caused an evacuation of a retirement community.

Some of the people evacuated were residents at the Magnolia Pines Retirement Community on Cleveland Street.

The facility sits just a few blocks south of the propane tank that was damaged.

“We just didn’t know what was happening,” resident Sondra Dowdle said.

It was a 3 a.m. wake-up call nobody wants - an evacuation order due to a gas leak.

“I smelled it right away,” resident Nita Johnston said.

The resident took no time getting up and getting out of the area.

“We got the call around 3:00 and was out by 3:30,” owner of Magnolia Pines Bev McGraw said.

The storm was so strong, residents could hear it in the night.

“I heard the wind really, really strong,” resident Mary Pitts said. “Because I am on this end and I could hear it really strong and I thought my goodness.”

The resident were even helping other residents get out of harm’s way.

“We have one lady, who is 98,” McGraw said. “And she didn’t question, she got up and got dressed.”

There was a shelter set up in town, but the residents were able to go stay with family and friends.

Three of the ladies even had a humorous time getting to the home of Johnston’s son.

“He came to the door and looked down,” Johnston said. “And there were three women and a man. He said I started to call the police and say there are three old women and an old man trying to break into my house.”

All in all, the ladies are happy that things were not as bad as it could have been, and they are thankful for their local first responders.

“They really worked hard today, the fire department and the police station,” McGraw said.

“We really appreciate all of those people,” Dowdle said.

All residents in Wynne who were evacuated were able to return home around 1:30 p.m. Wednesday.

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