TUSHKA, Okla. (AP) — A powerful storm system that ripped across the country’s midsection Friday killed six people including two children in Arkansas and Oklahoma, before taking a bead on the Deep South.
Arkansas Department of Emergency Management spokeswoman Renee Preslar said Garland County officials confirmed two deaths there early Friday. The National Weather Service said the victims died when a tree crushed a mobile home.
Little Rock television station KTHV reported that officials received a call around 1 a.m. of a tree down on a home in Whittington. Sheriff’s Lt. James Martin told the station the victims were a 24-year-old male and an 18-month-old girl. It wasn’t immediately clear if a tornado or strong winds blew over the tree.
In Pulaski County near Little Rock, Lt. Carl Minden of the county sheriff’s office said a man was killed when straight-line winds pushed a tree onto his recreational vehicle near the town of Scott.
In Bald Knob, also in central Arkansas, a huge tree fell on a home, killing a 6-year-old boy early Friday, Police Chief Tim Sanford said.
“This is very, very tragic,” Sanford said.
Sanford said the tree, between 6 and 8 feet in diameter, fell at about 2:30 a.m., likely toppled by straight-line winds.
Rescuers were able to get the boy’s parents and a 2-year-old sibling out of the crushed house, but it took more than two hours to get a truck big enough to lift the tree from the boy’s bedroom, he said.
Sanford says the child, Devon Adams, was pronounced dead at the scene. The other family members had cuts and bruises but Sanford says they didn’t appear to have significant injuries.
In Oklahoma, a tornado tore apart a school in Tushka, where the state Medical Examiner’s Office confirmed two fatalities. Information about the people killed wasn’t immediately available.
The storms left numerous communities in eastern Oklahoma and across Arkansas with downed power lines, damaged roofs and hazardous driving conditions because of snapped power poles and trees on the roads.
As the sun rose Friday, the storms were moving across Tennessee, Louisiana and Mississippi.
Associated Press writers Chuck Bartels in Little Rock, and Ken Miller and Rochelle Hines in Oklahoma City contributed to this report.