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Weather Service: Baxter Springs Tornado an EF-2

BAXTER SPRINGS, Ark. -- The National Weather Service has surveyed the damage from Sunday's tornado in Baxter Springs, Kansas and declared it as an EF-2.
BAXTER SPRINGS, Ark. -- The National Weather Service has surveyed the damage from Sunday's tornado in Baxter Springs, Kansas and declared it as an EF-2.

25 people were injured - 9 were sent to the hospital.  One person was killed in nearby Quapaw, Oklahoma by the same storm.

In Baxter Springs, a number of houses and other buildings in the downtown area were destroyed.  The Weather Service says the total path of this tornado was 8 miles, beginning in Quapaw and continuing for about 2 miles northeast of Baxter Springs.  The tornado was measured at 150 yards wide in the Baxter Springs area.

In Quapaw, Oklahoma, Governor Mary Fallin declares a state of emergency.
 
The storm struck Quapaw around 5:30pm, Sunday. One person who was passing through town died when they sought refuge in a vacant building. Debris from the building collapsed on top the car, killing the person inside. At least 5 other people were injured and the city's fire station was destroyed.

Five businesses were demolished and damage assessments are ongoing. Issuing a state of emergency is the first step in seeking federal assistance.

Quapaw Police Chief, Gary Graham, says they had no warning and didn't sound the sirens.

"You know it's hard to warn other people when we don't know. It's unfortunate that it happened that way and I'm not happy that it happened that way but I don't know what else we could have done.", says Chief Graham.

The damaged area is said to be a 5 by 4 block area and included two dozen homes.

As of last night, the city did not have electricity and authorities were concerned about the water supply. Right now there is a two-day supply of water, so city leader are asking residents to conserve.


BAXTER SPRINGS PRESS RELEASE:

Clean up and recovery efforts continue this morning as a result of the devastating tornado that struck Baxter Springs on Sunday evening. At this time, Military Avenue continues to remain closed due to down power lines. It is estimated that approximately 40% of town remains without power, although crews have been working throughout the night to restore power. Kansas Gas Service has natural gas related issues resolved and 91 customers have had their gas service shut down.

Contractors wishing to do business in Baxter Springs will have to obtain a permit (proof of insurance and identification of all employees required). They can obtain the permit at City Hall (take Park Avenue south of 12th Street to 15th).

Nobody will be authorized in the damaged area without identification showing they reside there or if they have received a volunteer / family ID issued at the Baxter Springs High School. Residents are asked to separate their debris curbside (away from water / utility meters). Limbs should be separated from construction debris. Limbs may also be taken to the city landfill on West 12th Street.

Donations of food, water can be taken to the First Baptist Church at 10th and East Avenue. NO CLOTHING DONATIONS ARE REQUESTED AT THIS TIME. Financial donations can be made to the America Red Cross

There were no reported incidents throughout the night, and law enforcement continues to maintain a heavy presence in the damaged area.

Anyone working or volunteering within the affected will be asked to show identification before entering the damaged area and may be asked additional times, as well. We ask that residents understand that this is due to efforts to insure only those with a purpose, and not would be thieves, are accessing damaged property.

Anyone needing assistance from emergency services can call the Baxter Springs Police Department at 620-856-2112 or go to the Baxter Springs Community Building at 11th and East Avenue where the Red Cross is running the shelter.
Over the course of the night, 17 residents took advantage of the shelters due to damage to their homes.


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