Officials confirmed at least two fatalities after a destructive tornado ripped through El Reno, Oklahoma, late Saturday night. An unknown number of people remain missing.
Extensive damage was reported at a hotel, the American Budget Value Inn, and a nearby mobile home park near the Highway 81 and Interstate 44 interchange. First responders were extricating people from the hotel shortly after the twister struck. Over thirty people were believed to be in the hotel at the time. “It’s been a serious, serious event here,” El Reno Mayor Matt White said during a press conference early Sunday morning. “We have all hands on deck.”
White described the scene at the mobile home park as “horrific.” He also said that most of the American Budget Value Inn’s second story was gone.
The mayor urged people to utilize the city’s social media pages and non-emergency lines to get information so that 911 lines would not be tied up.
“Our community is very resilient to this. We ask you to pray for us, pray for the first responders…the main thing is we have to stick together. I know people want to help. We want your help.” People have been transferred to hospitals with injuries; however, there is no word on the number of those injured or extent of the injuries at this time.
One report on Twitter stated that debris was falling from the sky along a stretch of Interstate 40 near El Reno. “The City of El Reno’s Fire and Police departments would like to ask everyone to please stay off of the roads in El Reno so that the proper assessment of damages can be done,” K-FOR Tv stated on twitter. Both sides of Highway 81 are closed at I-40 mile marker 125 due to debris and downed power lines, according to the Oklahoma department of transportation. Arrangements for victims needing shelter has been put in place by the El Reno Veterans of Foreign Wars.