VILONIA, Ark.- On this day, seven years ago, almost two dozen people were killed when a tornado tore through Central Arkansas.
Hundreds were injured and full communities had to rebuild.
Years later, neighbors recall what happened when the storm rolled in.
“Being a dumb guy like me, I had to be watching out the back deck so I could see it and I heard it was coming from Mayflower and traveling this way,” said Randall Reno, Lives in Velonia, ” I said we got a minute or two before we know our fate.”
Randall Reno bought this home in 1998.
The day he saw the EF-4 tornado heading for his home, he says, his wife, youngest daughter and dog were in the bathtub covered in cushions.
“I was on top of them holding them down and I said, Ill hang on as long as I can and just go with it. It was terrifying,” said Reno.
The next morning, Reno said his yard was covered in debris and he saw the tornados path.
Reno recalls the tornado turned towards town less than two blocks away.
“Our donut shop got taken out, Vans Cafe, the whole strip mall, O’Rielly’s auto parts,” said Reno.
Hundreds of businesses reduced to piles of lumber, 16 people killed and almost 200 injured across several counties.
“I knew four or five people who died so that was pretty tragic,” said Reno.