A fast moving line of severe thunderstorms kept Barrow County Fire and Emergency Services crews busy Tuesday night. The strong storms moved into the county at approximately 7 p.m. and resulted in extremely high call volume at the Barrow 911 center.
By 8 p.m. every fire services unit was deployed to storm related incidents. At the peak of the storm, assistance was requested from Oconee County Fire Department to help cover Barrow County stations left empty responding to emergency calls.
From 7 p.m. to 10 p.m., units responded to over a dozen emergency calls for service including trees and power lines down, lightning strikes, house fires and vehicle accidents.
“These types of storms can quickly overwhelm the capabilities of any emergency service provider,” said Barrow County Fire Chief Robert Post.
The most significant incident was a lightning strike which caused a house fire at 1526 Pointers Way in Auburn. The house was well involved when emergency units arrived, forcing crews to mount a defensive attack on the fire. It took crews approximately forty-five minutes to bring the fire under control. The residence suffered extensive damage as a result of the fire.
Two county fire engines sustained minor damage while responded to storm-related calls for service. Engine Four from Station 4 in Auburn was rear-ended as crews worked to remove a fallen tree on Hwy. 8 in Auburn.
Engine Five from Station 5 at the county line was damaged when a cable fell across the truck. The cable broke several of the cab marker lights.
“If there is a positive point out of all of this, no one way seriously injured as a result of the storms”, commented Chief Post.