Officials: 5 dead during weekend storms, number may increase

Officials: 5 dead during weekend storms, number may increase
(Source:KLTV)
(Source:KLTV)
(Source:KLTV)
(Source:KLTV)
(Source:KLTV)
(Source:KLTV)

EAST TEXAS (KAUZ) - At least five people died during Saturday's storms in East Texas.

The Ben Wheeler Volunteer Fire Department confirms the body of an unidentified person was found in a pasture in Canton.

Officials later confirmed that five people were killed during the storms and that the number of casualties could increase. Officials are asking residents to stay out of the area while emergency crews work. They say trees are downed and there is extensive damage in southern Van Zandt County. Some homes were destroyed during the storm.

Displacement centers are set up area churches.

So far, five tornadoes have been reported across the area, including one a mile wide, according to law enforcement. Eustace, Canton and Fruitvale received heavy damage and dozens of injuries have been reported.

A Dodge car dealership on Interstate 20 in the Canton area received heavy damage. Several cars were flipped over and a building appears to have sustained some damage. Officials have not confirmed if there are any injuries at this time.

Officials say Canton ISD and Fruitvale ISD have been mobilized as triage centers.

TxDOT said crews are responding to assess damages after possible tornadic activity continues to move through Van Zandt County. There no road closures reported at this time, but caution is advised.

Multiple agencies are heading to East Texas to assist Van Zandt and Henderson counties, including the Texas Task Force and the Regional State Fire Marshal's Office. Smith County has sent their Command Platform Trailer and will be stationed at the Canton High School. Smith County is also sending several firefighters and trucks to assist. Smith County Sheriff's Office is also sending 3 units to Canton and 2 to Fruitvale.

Kilgore police are deploying a strike force of officers and a dispatcher to Canton to assist.

Today was also the First Monday Trade Days in Canton, several people reported having to take shelter.

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