LITTLE ROCK, Ark. – In the midst of all the devastation from Friday’s tornado outbreak in Arkansas comes stories of survival.
Brent Long was caught in the middle of the storm as he drove into his North Little Rock neighborhood.
“I pulled a U-turn and as soon as I pulled into the street I pulled onto, all around me it tried to suck my car up,” Long described.
Long thought about what might’ve happened if he had gone down another route.
“If I had gone just the other way, it would’ve flipped my car, could’ve killed me,” Long said.
Just minutes earlier, that same tornado ripped through a Little Rock fire station.
“We were literally standing in this spot when we realized this tornado is coming right at us,” Little Rock Fire Department Captain Ben Hammonds said.
Hammonds and nine of his firefighters crammed into an office as the winds knocked out bay doors, sent ceiling tiles flying and ripped the roof off their station.
“We came out and realized this 40-foot beam came from the church next door right through our kitchen wall,” Hammonds said.
The beam now sits in the same spot they were in before they took cover. But just like the flip of a switch, those same people went from survivors to first responders.
“Let’s put some gear on, grab some tools. We got to go to work,” Hammonds recalled saying.
Pastor Eddie Miller at New Commandment Church of God in Christ in Jacksonville sifts through what’s left behind.
“What gives us the most hope is the fact that we still have the three crosses on the wall, that represent the situation we’re in right now,” Miller said. “The resurrection.”
While some homes and businesses have walls still standing, all Erica Jackson has left are the steps leading to her foundation.
“We came up the hill and my husband said the house is gone the house is gone,” Jackson said.
Her home full of memories was thrown in all directions.
“The thing that I wanted the most was my wedding ring,” Jackson said.
She said she knew finding the ring would be like finding a needle in a haystack, but as crews came to help Jackson and her family salvage what they could, a volunteer walked up to her with the ring in hand.
“I was like, ‘That’s my ring!,” Jackson recalled. “My ring was just sitting on a top of a piece of wood.”
Story by story, whether it’s a brush with death, lives saved, a cross still standing or a memory salvaged, each person has one thing in common. One thing they can only explain one way.
“Nobody but God,” Jackson said.