Firefighters knocked down two fully engaged structure fires in Winder during Wednesday night's storms, authorities reported Thursday. A third structure was also struck by lightning, but the homeowner was able to extinguish the fire himself.
Fifty-eight county residents called the 911 center between 6 p.m. and midnight. There were 19 calls for Fire and Emergency Medical Services personnel and 39 calls for law enforcement.
“The storms moved rapidly but brought heavy winds and lightning,” said Lt. Scott Dakin, public information officer with Barrow County Emergency Services.
At 11:31 p.m. Wednesday night, communication officers received a 911 call reporting a small barn that had been hit by lightning. Engine 4, Ladder 7, Med 4 and Battalion 1 responded and found a small storage barn that was fully involved. Lightning had struck a tree near the barn and traveled the ground to the tree. The lightning had also knocked the top of the tree off causing major damage to a vehicle parked near it.
Just after 2:15 a.m. Thursday, communication officers received another 911 call reporting an outbuilding on fire on Huckleberry Lane. Engine 3 and 6, Med 6 and Battalion 1 responded and found the building fully involved with heat damage to the single-wide trailer near the building. Firefighters quickly brought the blaze under control and spent several hours hitting hot spots. The building was destroyed by the blaze. The apparent cause of this fire was another lightning strike.
The third fire reported due to the storms was on the 1000 block of Saratoga Court in Winder for a house that was struck by lightning. Engines 4 and 5, Ladder 7, Med 4 and Battalion 1 responded to the call. That the house had been struck near the electrical panel. The homeowner told authorities he saw flames and smoke but was able to extinguish it using a fire extinguisher. Firefighters removed part of the wall to check for any fire extension and also removed smoke from the home.