EAST END, Ark. (KTHV) - The East End community south of Little Rock knows all too well what it's like to rebuild after a tornado. The storm-ravaged area has taken several hits from Mother Nature in the past 20 years.
East End took a hit from a tornado most recently three years ago. Fire Department Chief Rusty Long recalled what it was like on that spring evening.
"Typical line of storms coming through," said Long. "They issued a tornado warning, and my wife and I went to our storm shelter and stayed there."
The area, which sits on the eastern edge of Saline County, was hit hard in '97, '99, and 2010, and Long said it's a target for severe weather.
"For years it seemed like it was Sardis that was always getting it. Now, it seems like it shifted a little bit to the east, and now, it's coming through here quite a bit," he explained.
The community even lost its fire station during the most recent storm.
Firefighter Lt. James Henderson said he actually took shelter in the station's bathroom along with his wife, another firefighter and his family.
"Didn't really realize the building had been hit until I stepped out the front door and looked to the left, and I could see that the bays had been destroyed," described Henderson.
But, that didn't stop him from jumping right back into action. The department still assisted residents the night of the storm. And, the community assisted them with rebuilding a new fire station -- something Long said he's thankful for.
"This community always bans together," said Long. "Just like you see across the country, they stood behind us. They did a lot of the fund raising. A lot of the donating helped us rebuild."
Lt. Henderson feels the same way about his community.
"From the start of the tornado the community just came together," he said.
The new fire station is now equipped with a safe room that will protect firefighters and their families should another tornado touchdown. The new station sits right across the street from the old one.
Miraculously, the tornado siren next to the old station was untouched during the storm.