POINSETT COUNTY, Ark. (KAIT) - Thursday, April 8, marks one year since a tornado touched down just north of Harrisburg.
Packing 125 mile an hour winds, the EF-2 twister damaged dozens of businesses and homes.
Poinsett County sheriff’s deputies spent the night going door-to-door, searching for victims and checking on residents.
Officials wound up checking 55 homes that were either damaged or destroyed.
Harrisburg Police Chief Roderick Moore and Harrisburg Fire Chief Ryan Mooney say it was a shocking night. Mooney says the fire department was on their way to Claypool when the tornado came.
For Moore, it was the first natural disaster he worked through as the police chief. Not only that, his house was hit by the tornado as well.
“It was like a scene from Twister,” Moore said. “There were trees in the roads, there were power lines down, I’m like ‘you’ve got to be kidding me.’ That was probably the longest 48 hours.”
Moore and Mooney say the community banded together after the tornado.
“I was really thankful that we didn’t have to pull anybody out that was seriously injured or passed away,” Mooney said.
Neighbors made sure those affected were well taken care of. Churches and organizations collected donated items for those displaced.
“To see it damaged the way it was, it was extremely heartbreaking,” Harrisburg Mayor Justin Kimble said. “And now, a year later, and looking at this community — looking at this neighborhood — it’s unbelievable how far it’s came in just a year’s time.”
Kimble said most of the 55 houses that were damaged or destroyed by the tornado have been repaired or rebuilt.
Charlotte Tacker and Angie Fatheree were one of the 55 houses. They lived on opposite ends of the neighborhood where the tornado touched down, but both of their houses were leveled.
“It sounded like our house was in a blender,” Fatheree said.
Fatheree was sitting in her kitchen on Meadow Lane when she noticed the lightning outside. She then grabbed her pets and ran for cover with her daughter.
She said experiencing the tornado run through her house was a traumatic time for both her and her daughter.
Across the neighborhood, Tacker didn’t know what was happening.
“I could hear crackling and popping and glass breaking,” Tacker said. “I was in the bathroom with my head in the closet.”
Moments later, the tornado passed, but their houses were destroyed.
“I thank God I was there and I thank Him for keeping his hand on everybody,” Tacker said.
One year later, both Fatheree and Tacker are waiting to move back in. Angie’s house is mostly rebuilt. Charlotte hopes to rebuild soon.
They say the community has been there for them every step.
“They came in and checked on us and they kept bringing us stuff,” Tacker said. “They brought us breakfast, lunch, and dinner for a whole week.”
“I’m still overwhelmed,” Fatheree added. “I’ll never forget all the compassion and the love and the coming together. Amazing.”
Like the March 28 tornado that hit Jonesboro, there were injuries but no fatalities.