KARK 4 News & FOX 16 News will have special live coverage Saturday morning with the latest updates on the tornado damage in the Little Rock metro and many other areas of Arkansas. Tune in live starting at 7 a.m. on-air or online at KARK.com & FOX16.com.
LITTLE ROCK, Ark. – Little Rock Mayor Frank Scott Jr. and Arkansas Gov. Sarah Huckabee Sanders gave updates on the response after tornadoes devasted parts of the city and the rest of the state Friday.
Sanders and Scott were joined by officials with the Arkansas State Police, the Little Rock Fire Department and the Little Rock Police Department, who also gave updates.
Sanders confirmed the state had seen three deaths from the storms, with two happening in the hard hit eastern Arkansas town of Wynne and another in North Little Rock.
Scott expressed sympathy and asked for prayers for storm victims and the city.
“It grieves the heart to see many of our residents who have been displaced across the city as a result of these tornadoes,” Scott said. “We want to assure the public that your first responders are going above and beyond to ensure public safety health and welfare couldn’t be more proud of the work they are doing and will continue to do through the night the weekend and the coming days.”
The mayor continued that the city was partnering with the state’s governor and agencies to respond to the “devastating tornado.”
Sanders spoke about the emphasis on efficiency going forward.
“We will help our neighbors, we will ensure that every Arkansan, our message and our mission are simple: The people come first and the paperwork will come second,” she said.
The governor had declared a State of Emergency for Arkansas Friday afternoon and activated the National Guard. The activation has led to 100 Guard troops working with officials, she said.
The state has been working with the Federal Emergency Management Agency for support. Sanders said the agency director had assured her that the agency was “working as quickly as they can” to provide aid for Arkansas.
Earlier, Sanders had released $250,000 in emergency funding from state coffers. She said that amount has “significant room to grow” if needed.
Little Rock Fire Department Chief Delphone Hubbard said one issue in his agency’s response was its Station 9 on Shackleford was “heavily damaged” by the Friday storms. He said that despite the damage, the station housed people seeking shelter as the storm crossed the area.
Hubbard said that MEMS Ambulance has transported “about 30” people injured during the storm.
Hubbary and Little Rock police Assistant Chief Andre Dyer both thanked agencies from nearby communities who came to the city to help with storm response.
Dyer continued to speak to the security the police would be providing in the post-storm clean up. He emphasized the department working to prevent looting.
“We will be very strict in who we allow into the [storm damaged] area,” he said, adding “Do us a favor and stay out of the area.”
Dyers said west Little Rock was the hardest hit area of the city.
To a question, Scott was joined by Sanders in praising the first responders and the overall response by personnel as the storm hit Little Rock.
First responders were “running into danger” while others were sheltering in place,” Sanders said.
A second news conference will be held mid-morning Saturday, Scott said.