Arkansas Baptist Boys Ranch damaged by EF-1 tornado

Several buildings and residences at the Arkansas Baptist Boys Ranch were damaged early April 3 after a tornado ripped through northern Arkansas.  

The 27 residents and 10 staff were shaken up during the EF1 tornado, but there were no injuries at the 500-acre Ranch, located seven miles north of Harrison.The National Weather Service in North Little Rock confirmed the twister and rated it as an EF1 with winds from 86 to 110 mph.

“When the houseparents began getting alerts on their phones about the storm, it was coming through,” said David Perry, executive director of Arkansas Baptist Children’s Homes and Family Ministries. 

The twister hit the Ranch at about 12:45 a.m., Perry said. 

The Ranch’s Independence Hall collapsed in the storm, but no one was in the building. A chimney was 

ripped off leaving a hole in the ceiling at the Arapaho Family Home, a hay barn was demolished and a horse barn’s new roof was heavily damaged. Two additional family homes received major roof damage, while six other buildings received some damage. Trees were uprooted and a walk-in cooler was destroyed, as well.

Ranch resident Camerson Kinzer, 16, won’t soon forget this experiene. “When it hit, it was loud and not really traumatizing, but it was scary,” said Kinzer, during an interview. 

Originally from Arizona, Kinzer said he’s never experienced a tornado before.


“It’s only an F-1 and just imagine what people go through on F-5’s it’s traumatizing, I’m really just grateful that my Lord was there to protect all of us and no one got hurt,” Kinzer said.

The Jones Chapel and Hannah House received minimal damage. Perry estimates the damage to the property to be hundreds of thousands of dollars.

“God’s at the top of our ministry and he helped us through this experience today, and so it’s at the right place, just to look at it still standing is an encouraging thing,” Perry said, pointing to the Jones Chapel bell tower.

Perry said the hay barn will need to be rebuilt. Other rebuilding decisions will be made at a later date. Clean up will take weeks.

Two Arkansas Baptist Disaster Relief teams were deployed to the Ranch April 3.  A chainsaw crew from the White River Baptist Assocation is helping cut up downed trees and cleaning up debri. The North Arkansas Baptist Association feeding unit began Saturday serving breakfast, lunch and dinner to resdients, staff and contractors. The feeding until will be in place for at least a week. Food is being provided by Western Sizzlin and the Main Street Outlet, both of Harrison. 

At this early stage in the disaster relief process, additional volunteers are not needed. Additional help, however, will be requested at a later date. Those
interested in volunteering should email jhunt@abchomes.org.

 

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