Strong Winds Damage Buildings in Van Buren

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Storms ripped through the River Valley and Northwest Arkansas Sunday night (April 13), causing damage.

In Van Buren, the Meadors Inn off of Alma Highway was damaged by the gusty winds. The roof of the motel was ripped off, the inside of the building flooded and those who were staying there were evacuated.

Fire Marshal Stanley Clark said crews responded to the Meadors Inn around 8:30 Sunday night, after someone called in to report that the roof had blown off.

When crews got on scene, they evacuated about 30 people. Most of them were USA Truck drivers.

"They got a gas line hanging off the back wall. The lobby inside here looked like a Niagara Falls," said Steve Cockrell, truck driver. "There were people everywhere."

"Several of us reported a gas smell, fire department showed up and evacuated the top floor, the lobby was just packed," he said. "They opened up the side restaurant so we can be in there."

People at the motel also reported that their cars were damaged in the storms.

Power crews turned off electricity to the motel because of the flood damage inside. Crews also turned off gas to the building as a precautionary measure.

As for the rest of the area, there are reports of tree limbs down, and other houses and buildings without roofs and siding in the Van Buren area.