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Strong winds tear part of roof off Crawford County courthouse; 1 tornado confirmed in county

by Brianna Kwasnik | May 4, 2021 at 4:46 p.m.
Storm damage around the historic Crawford County Courthouse Tuesday, May 4, 2021 in downtown Van Buren. (NWA Democrat-Gazette/DAVID GOTTSCHALK)

Strong winds overnight took off at least part of the roof of the Crawford County courthouse, leaving it in the front yard, a county employee said Tuesday morning.

The building’s fire alarm had been ringing since Monday night, said Elaine Stanfield, an administrative assistant to the county judge.

Two of the courthouse's air-conditioning ducts were torn out, bringing in water that left the halls and steps full of water, according to Stanfield. The restoration team was at the courthouse Tuesday afternoon and insurance adjusters were expected as well.

Gallery: Damage to Crawford County courthouse

[Gallery not showing up above? Click here to watch » arkansasonline.com/54craw/]

“It’s not near as bad in the inside as we thought it would be,” she said.

The National Weather Service office in North Little Rock said Tuesday afternoon that one site in Crawford County had confirmed tornado damage, and a second was under investigation. It was not clear Tuesday afternoon whether the site of the confirmed tornado was at the Crawford County courthouse.

The Crawford County Department of Emergency Management said damage throughout the county as a result of the storm was extensive and asked residents not to go out, except in cases of an emergency. In a Facebook post Tuesday, the department reminded residents not to go around caution tape or barricades.

[ARKANSAS WEATHER: Hourly forecast + weather radar » arkansasonline.com/radar]

The courthouse, as well as the circuit clerk’s office, was closed Tuesday due to the damage, the clerk's office said in a Facebook post.

CORRECTION: It was not clear Tuesday afternoon whether the site of the confirmed tornado was at the Crawford County courthouse.

[QUIZ: How much do you know about severe weather in Arkansas? Test your knowledge » arkansasonline.com/weatherquiz/]

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