At least five people were killed and dozens were injured after tornadoes ripped through parts of Texas Saturday night.
The Canton Fire Department Capt. Brian Horton said that at least five were dead, including one person who was in a vehicle when a tornado tossed it along Highway 64 in Canton. Horton said the number of fatalities was expected to rise as dawn breaks.
“We still may have people unaccounted for,” Horton said.
Horton asked that people who didn’t need to be in the area to stay out, “so that our teams can do what they need to do to take care of these people who are in need.” He noted that a triage center was set up at the local high school.
ETMC Regional Healthcare Systems hospitals in the region received at least 54 patients following the storm, including one person in critical condition, spokeswoman Rebecca Berkley said. She said the other patients suffered injuries that were non-life threatening.
The extent of the damage in the area wasn’t immediately clear. But video from local television stations showed uprooted trees and overturned cars along rural, wet roadways, along with at least two flattened homes. The tornado flipped pickup trucks at a Dodge dealership in Canton and tore through the business.
The National Weather Service confirmed that at least three tornadoes touched down and passed through Canton, Eustace and Canton City, the Dallas Morning News reported.
The tornado that struck Canton grew to up to a half-mile wide as it teared up a 40-mile path, also hitting Fruitvale and Emory, KXAS-TV reported.
Local resident Ernestine Cook told WFAA-TV that she rushed to a storm center just in time.
“It hit so hard, so fast. It just kept moving,” she said. “I’ve never seen anything like it after 22 years of living here.”
A dispatcher at the Van Zandt County Sheriff’s Office said officers were chasing numerous injury reports and declined further comment
The Associated Press contributed to this report.