Strong winds blow tree onto Morrilton home

By Tammy Keith Originally Published April 18, 2013 at 12:00 a.m.
Updated April 17, 2013 at 11:45 a.m.
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PHOTO BY: Rusty Hubbard

Dorian Thompson, from the left, Jeron Williams and Shawna Wright look at the damage caused by a tree that fell on their home in Morrilton.

— Shawna Wright called her bedroom a “haven” but said she was glad she wasn’t there April 10 when winds uprooted a tree, which fell on the roof over her bed.

A storm system that spawned three tornadoes in the state brought strong wind and rains to Morrilton and Conway County, Mayor Stewart Nelson said.

“The stuff was coming over the top of the town,” Nelson said.

The National Weather Service in North Little Rock confirmed that tornadoes touched down in the state. Conway County was one of 15 declared a disaster area following the storms.

Nelson said he drove around Morrilton on Wednesday evening looking for flooding, which “wasn’t too bad — it wasn’t good, but it wasn’t as bad as it has been,” he said.

He took a photo of the tree that fell on the home Wright rents on Legacy Drive.

Wright said the Morrilton School District had been on “lockdown” after school to make sure students were safe as the storm blew through.

When her 14-year-old son, Jeron Williams, got home, he wanted something to eat.

“The weather looked OK — it wasn’t really bad,” she said.

They got sandwiches and came back home. Wright said that she often eats in her bedroom.

“My bedroom is my haven,” she said.

Her son asked her to sit at the table with him.

“We sat there, and I took maybe two bites of my sandwich, and we hear this loud noise, and it kind of shook the house,” Wright said. “I said, ‘Let’s go to the bathroom,’ because I was thinking tornado.”

They headed for the bathroom next to her bedroom, and her son “noticed the tree had fallen right above my bed,” she said.

“We both just kind of looked at each other,” Wright said.

“It was actually so loud that people around the block, on the next street over, thought someone had a car wreck or something,” she said.

The tree didn’t come all the way through the roof, but the hole it made allowed water to come in.

“I had just gotten new mattresses — it got insulation everywhere,” she said.

Wright said she had been cleaning, so she had her laptop and other items on her bed, and they were ruined.

She called 911 and sent her son to her niece’s home down the street.

“About 20 minutes later, he called and said, ‘Can I come finish eating?’” Wright said, laughing.

“I finally told him, ‘Yeah, it’s safe.’

“Usually, I am terrified of storms. For some reason, Wednesday, it wasn’t bothering me.”

Wright said her son has been staying at his grandparents’ home in Blackwell because he goes fishing there.

On rainy days, like April 10, he comes home.

“Had he not been there, I would have been in the bedroom,” she said, and could have been injured by falling debris.

Wright said the house next door is empty, so she will stay there while the roof of her home is repaired.

She said she has renters insurance.

“I am just thankful, and I’ve been praising the Lord that we are alive,” she said.

“There’s no place like home.”

Senior writer Tammy Keith can be reached at (501) 327-0370 or tkeith@arkansasonline.com.

Niche Publications Senior Writer Tammy Keith can be reached at 501-327-0370 or tkeith@arkansasonline.com.

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