EL RENO, Okla. – Officials say there have been at least two deaths associated with a tornado that tore through the community of El Reno late Saturday night.
Around 10:20 p.m. on Saturday, a tornado warning was issued for Canadian County after a tornado was spotted in the area and on radar.
Residents in the area had only a few minutes of warning before the tornado touched down.
Emergency crews were called to the American Budget Value Inn after it suffered extensive damage due to the tornado.
Initial reports indicated that 34 people were inside the hotel when the storm hit the building.
Officials with the Union City Police Department confirmed early Sunday morning that there were severe injuries and possibly fatalities at the hotel. EMSA authorities say they have transported multiple people with serious injuries to a hospital in Oklahoma City, along with others with less severe injuries to nearby hospitals.
“Very dangerous situation tonight in El Reno. Severe damage with serious injuries and fatalities involved. Please pray for those [affected] by these storms as well as the emergency services workers assisting in this ongoing rescue. This is an unfortunate example of just how quickly these types of storms can develop from a simple thunderstorm into a deadly supercell tornado. Please remain weather aware and be prepared,” Chief Richard Stephens with the Union City Police Department posted to Facebook.
Around 1 a.m. on Sunday morning, emergency crews were still searching through the rubble of the hotel and a nearby mobile home park to continue looking for any other victims.
Canadian County Emergency Management Manager Andrew Skidmore confirmed to News 4 that two people have died due to the storms from late Saturday night.
VFW, located at 1515 S. Rock Island in El Reno, opened its doors to help those who were in need of a place to stay.