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Arkansas community reacts after storm damage kills 20-year-old woman

After strong storms swept through the state, an Arkansas family is mourning the loss of one of their own.

RISON, Ark. — Following days of severe storms in the Natural State, a 20-year-old newlywed was killed after a tree fell onto her mobile home in Rison.

The Cleveland County Office of Emergency Management (OEM) confirmed that 20-year-old Addison Byrne and two other people were inside of a mobile home on East 6th Street when a tree fell and trapped Byrne.

"To have an individual pass away from such an incident is horrible," said Stephen McClellan, Emergency Manager of the Cleveland County OEM.

After a night a strong storms, you can usually find people sorting through what is left behind, but for family and neighbors of Byrne, they are questioning why this had to happen.

"I was just so shell shocked [and] couldn't believe it", said Floyd Spadoni, Byrne's neighbor.

Spadoni lives primarily in Bryant, but owns a home next door to Byrne's mobile home.

"She was so excited that she and River [Byrne's husband] were going to be married," he said.

The tragedy hits even closer to home as Spadoni said that marriage to River happened just one month ago.

"They were about as excited as two 20-year-old people could be," said Spadoni. 

Shortly before 5:00 p.m. Wednesday evening, strong wind gusts caused the unthinkable to happen.

"There was a tree that fell on the mobile home and the individual was trapped under," McClellan said.

After a tough rescue effort from the family inside of the home, they weren't successful.

"All of a sudden, the tree came down and it pinned her to the couch and they couldn't get the limb off her," said Spadoni.

He wasn't at his home in Rison when the tree fell, but he was able to gather information from Byrne's family.

"There were three people in the mobile home at the time. Two witnesses and the victim. It's a very tight knit community Rison is," McClellan said. 

That sense of community is something that McClellan knows all to well, and it's what makes Wednesday night's incident all the more devastating.

"It's very disheartening and I hope the community bands together for the family," he said.

With such a tragic event happening, McClellan shared an update on the rest of the city and said other storm damage around the city was minor. 

"A few reports of trees being down on county roads and as well as quite a few of county roads that were completely flooded due to rising waters," McClellan said.

For the city of Rison that damage is fixable, but for Spadoni it's a reminder of a life lost.

"My prayers go out to the family. I'll do anything I can do to help them," Spadoni said.

Byrne's family is working to create a GoFundMe to raise money for the family.

Following Wednesday's tragic event, Cleveland County OEM said the damage seen in the county will not meet the federal threshold for relief funds.

   

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