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  • Sara Doan, Northeast Arkansas News

Severe weather destroys Lake City church

LAKE CITY, Ark- Last night’s severe weather being the aftermath from Hurricane Laura made a lasting impact on northeast Arkansas.

From flooding to strong winds and a possible tornado. “She came in and said, ‘Steve, I think there is a tornado’. We went and closed the restroom door and was getting ready to kneel by the bathtub when we heard the tornado,” says Refuge Baptist Church pastor Steve Hinkle. “The house shook we heard the noises and sound for about 40, 45 seconds. She walks out and says ‘Steve, the church sign is missing’, turns the corner, sees all of this destruction, and starts crying.”

While not confirmed, the suspected tornado hit near lake city around 9 p.m. last night.

Hinkle and his family were the only people on the property and were un-injured.

The churches clothing closet, the church building, pavilion, and family life center were all severely damaged.

A playground behind the parsonage was also destroyed and blown into the fields behind the church.

Hinkle says within minutes the community showed up to help, including a man who just fixed the church’s roof.

“Within 10-15 minutes after it happened, he was up here putting tarps on our parsonage,” says Hinkle. “We’re here for the community and, now the community is here helping us.”

One man who came to help with the cleanup says he’s thankful no one was injured.

“Ya know material things can be replaced, but ya life can’t,” says family friend Jeff Miles. “Just thank God that these people here in Lake City are okay.”

Hinkle says they will rebuild and be back.

Just like they did after a tornado ripped through the church in the 1980’s.

“Church isn’t the building, it’s the people. He protected the people, he protected me and my family,” says Hinkle. “Buildings can be re-built. The pastor said in 1984 it’s going to be bigger and better. God wants to take this messy and, he wants to do something beautiful with it. That’s what I’ve been sharing with people since last night.”

Hinkle again wants to thank everyone who has reached out to him, his family, and the church.

He says Refuge Baptist will host church this Sunday.

No location has been announced.

We will continue to update you on the clean up here at Refuge Baptist Church.


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