EL RENO, Okla. – The mayor of El Reno is speaking out following a devastating tornado that has claimed the lives of two people.
According to Matt White, El Reno Mayor, search and rescue efforts continue Sunday morning to make sure all affected have been accounted for.
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.
On Sunday morning, emergency crews were still searching through the rubble of the hotel and the Skyview Trailer Park to continue looking for any other victims.
All residents in the mobile home park were evacuated to the VFW in El Reno.
Authorities confirmed to News 4 that two people have died due to the storms.
White says there are also multiple injuries.
“It’s a big event. A lot of damage. It was at night. So, it’s just, you know, there’s a lot of people hurt at this point in time,” he said. “There’s a lot of damage over here we didn’t know about because we couldn’t see at night.”
White reports there are 88 spots in the mobile home park, and at least 15 to 16 of the homes are destroyed.
“The walls are everywhere else, the floor is just completely shut down, some trailers are on their side,” White said.
First responders have been working throughout the night, White says, and come from different agencies; some include – Elk City, Mustang, Hydro and Canadian County.
“El Reno is a wonderful community, people are very resilient here, they’re a kind, caring community, the best people in Oklahoma here in El Reno, Oklahoma,” said White. “We know our community will step up, we’ve had these tragedies before and we all rally around each other and it’s a pretty devastating tornado.”
Everyone is asked to stay away from the area as many buildings are still unstable.
White says while the situation is heartbreaking, he believes in the El Reno community.
“Like I said, I cannot say this again, I saw the devastation. I’m just tore up about it. It’s just heartbreaking. But, knowing and saying all that, I know El Reno. I know our people here. We’re going to bounce back, we’re going to stick together and we’re going to help each other. That’s just what we do here in our community.”
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.