Pastor fled home minutes before it was leveled

VILONIA, Ark. (AP) — The pastor of an Arkansas church that's become a Red Cross shelter says his own home was one of those leveled by the killer tornado that struck the towns of Vilonia and Mayflower Sunday evening.

The Rev. Wade Lentz says he and his family fled their home just minutes before the tornado hit, and returned later to find nothing but a slab.

The pastor of Beryl Baptist Church in Vilonia says he thanks God that his wife and children are safe. Although he has to rebuild, Lentz is asking for prayers for others who lost loved ones and must now plan funerals.

The tornado killed eight people in Vilonia, including two children, and three people in Mayflower. A father and his two daughters were killed in the same storm system near Little Rock, while a 55-year-old woman died in northern Arkansas.

Lentz says dozens of people who lost their homes are staying in his church. Several other local churches also are serving as Red Cross shelters.

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