Family working to rebuild after tornado, flood


PINE BLUFF, Ark. — Two disasters hit a Jefferson County family costing them their business and home in just a matter of weeks, but the family is taking all that in stride.

Walls are down to the studs at the Myranda Place Apartment complex in Pine Bluff, after an EF 1 tornado spun up significant damage in May.

“It could have been worse,” said Donny Randle, whose family owns the complex.

Nearly two thirds of the apartments were damaged in the storm, forcing almost every renter to move out.

“Who would have ever thought that something like this would have happened here right here and been significant on one property?” Randle added.

Randle says they’ve started cleanup and added new roofs on several buildings, allowing them to move in a couple tenants. He says the building that took the biggest hit in the tornado is still virtually untouched since they can’t afford that extensive cleanup while they go back and forth with insurance.

“We’re healthy, we’re able, we’re okay. It is what it is. It’s no one’s fault. It’s only up to us to get back on our feet,” he said.

About a month after the tornado, another natural disaster hit Jefferson County when the Arkansas River flooded. Randle’s home on Island Harbor was submerged by the cresting water.

“It flooded all the way up to the roof,” he said. “We also had to go down, gut that house out.”

With both his home and business destroyed, Randle is focused on the projects he can finish,

“Let’s get to work because, that’s what it’s going to take,” he said.

The family says they’re finding strength knowing all their losses can eventually be replaced.

“One thing we can’t put a dollar amount on is people lives,” he said. “We are able to bounce back, it’s just going to take some time.”

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