NORTH LITTLE ROCK, Ark. – An EF-3 tornado that traveled over 30 miles from Little Rock to Cabot Friday injured 54 people and killed one.
That one death happened in North Little Rock on Sonora Drive. According to Mayor Terry Hartwick’s office, a man suffered a heart attack and after about half an hour of attempts to revive him with CPR, he was pronounced dead.
Neighbors said losing a member of their community has been the hardest part of recovery. During the tornado, several of them also feared the worst.
“I thought I was going to die” were the exact words from two different women reflecting on Friday when they were bundled in a pantry or bathroom on Sonora Drive while their house began to peel apart.
Family after family, home after home are a witness to the devastation an EF-3 tornado brought to the Amboy neighborhood
David Pichardo, an eighth-grade student, said the 165mph winds didn’t sound like a train but a shrill whistle. He said his ears felt like they popped.
“It hit. You couldn’t hear anything. It was just silence (after) a few seconds and everything was destroyed,” David said.
David and his sister Vianca were sheltered in the bathroom while the rest of the home lost doors, its roof and entire garage. They had just been picked up by their mother from school minutes before.
“A lot of people are just like it’s a tornado, like nothing ever happens to us, but it happened to us, and I never thought that would happen,” Vianca Pichardo, a 10th grade student, shared.
Down the street, Cindy Northcutt saw the debris flying through her home.
“When the door blew in, and it was like a sandstorm come through the house. I couldn’t see nothing…I was scared.” Cindy stated.
Just before it hit, her phone lost signal, and her husband, Paul, rushed home, even abandoning his car to run around downed trees and power lines. It was a run he had made earlier that morning for leisure, but by afternoon the landscape had changed.
“When I got close enough to see the roof was still on the house, I felt blessed that it wasn’t as bad as it could have been,” Paul said.
Since Friday, things have improved. Countless groups across Arkansas and beyond have lent their aid to nourish, repair and toss things to the curb.
Families living in the area just hope with more possibility for severe weather in the forecast they won’t have to relive this all again.
“A lot of people are already working trying to get everything cleaned up. It’s just gonna be really heartbreaking if like everything is gone again,” Vianca said.
For the Amboy community, they know not everything can be replaced since they lost one life in the twister.