Forrest City residents begin recovery process after storm rips through town

FORREST CITY, Ark. (AP) — At least one person has been hurt as strong storms have pounded areas of eastern Arkansas.

About 6,000 Entergy Arkansas customers had power knocked out late Saturday in St. Francis County as authorities reported downed trees and power lines.

Details of the injured person aren’t immediately known. Sheriff’s deputies have been canvassing streets from Colt to Caldwell to Forrest City to see if people needed assistance and county crews have been working to clear roads blocked by debris.

Power lines are twisted and transformers are blown apart, but there's no shortage of helping hands in Forrest City.

Bubba Renigar, owner of Renigar Enterprises, showed up ready to work after a possible tornado swept through the town that came through overnight.

"I've got about eight other calls of people stranded," he said.

Reingar is clearing streets and offering a hand to people like Arthur Hill on Cherry Street.

"This is my first time seeing something like this," he said.

Hill is from the area, but just moved back to Forrest City from Atlanta three weeks ago.

To celebrate his reunion with his family he barbecued in the backyard on Saturday evening.

"If it would have fell this way it would have split my whole house in half, and my wife and I would have been up there."

Just hours after the pit cooled a massive tree came down in Hill's backyard.

"I though it was raining in my house. It seemed like a tree fell through my kitchen. I was devastated when I woke up."

He's says he's been hard at work all morning trying to clean up the mess.

"We've been pulling and cutting trees."

The storm ripped of the roof of The Crossing at Graham and tossed it in a ditch down the road on Dawson Street.

Not far from the there, a school playground is covered by trees and a ghost town is still in the dark.

"There's only one place you can buy gas," resident Lisa Cooley said.

Cooley says people in St. Francis County stick together.

"We help in this community, on Cherry Street," she said.

Cooley says it's a blessing to only be cleaning and repairing damage.

"I haven't heard of any deaths. It's just a blessing."

The civic center in Forrest City, about 90 miles (144.83 kilometers) east of Little Rock, has been opened as a shelter.

The National Weather Service says it will investigate to determine if a tornado is responsible for some of the damage.