12 years later: Police chief recalls Marmaduke tornado, progress since

Updated: Apr. 2, 2018 at 10:39 PM CDT
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(Source: KAIT)
(Source: KAIT)
(Source: KAIT)
(Source: KAIT)

MARMADUKE, AR (KAIT) - 12 years ago, an EF-3 tornado ripped through the town of Marmaduke, leveling the town and leaving the community in shambles.

The destruction left behind took months to clean up and sent some families leaving the area and never coming back.

Steve Franks, police chief with Marmaduke Police Dept., spoke with Region 8 News Monday and not only gave his thoughts regarding the tornado but how the community rebounded following the disaster.

"We've upgraded our communications, we've put in generators everywhere, we've put up tornado sirens, the school has built a multi-million dollar safe room," Franks said.

"That's how big and bad that tornado was. I didn't think we were going to make it through it."

Franks said he and another officer were in his patrol car watching the storm when his patrol car's windshield shattered due to damage from the storm.

After the storm subsided, surrounding agencies descended on Marmaduke to assist with cleanup efforts.

Now, Franks said not only have they upgraded communications and technology, they've also installed emergency plans and staging areas for medical responders.

12 years later, Franks said the town is finally back to where they were before the tornado struck.

"People are starting to rebuild, people are starting to come back into town," Franks said. "I believe population-wise, we are back to where we were before the tornado hit."

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