Tornado rips through Tyronza Oct. 21; pastor’s home damaged

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TYRONZA – Arkansas Baptist volunteers continue to respond following a confirmed EF1 tornado that ripped through Tyronza early Monday, Oct. 21. Tyronza is a town of about 800 people located in Poinsett County.

According to published reports, four people were injured in the storm, with two requiring treatment at an area hospital. All were minor injuries, Poinsett County Sheriff Kevin Molder said.

Damage was reported to numerous houses, an elementary school and to a gas station in the town.

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Photos posted on social media showed heavy roof damage to Tyronza Elementary. An East Poinsett School District school board member told a local TV station that repair to the buildings “could take months.”

Eldron Gill, pastor of First Baptist Church, Tyronza, said while the church building was not damaged, his house sustained damage.

Gill responded early afternoon Monday: “(We have) no power and phone about dead. We are doing ok. Lots of roof damage but no loss of life.”

Randy Garrett, disaster relief (DR) director with the Arkansas Baptist State Convention, said 84 houses in Tyronza were damaged in the tornado.

“(The) Corner’s Chapel feeding and recovery unit is on site. Other units deployed are from Tri-County Baptist Association, Beckspur Baptist Church in Forrest City and Central Baptist Church, Jonesboro. We have our incident management team on site also.”

Garrett added that volunteers served more than 400 meals to recovery units and first responders on Monday.

“We hope to get most jobs completed by this Saturday,” said Garrett, noting that volunteers were on site by 8 a.m. Monday. “We make the call our DR volunteers come running to help their fellow Arkansans. This is what we do! What a privilege to be associated with such great Christian people.”

Garrett added that several teams also were working Monday in northwest Arkansas at Camp Siloam, which had several downed trees and no power.

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