Thursday night's severe thunderstorm not only knocked down trees and power lines but also left one family without a home after lightning struck and started a fire at a house in the Meadowbrook subdivision.
Only one resident, an adult female, was home at the time when she reportedly heard a loud boom and then smelled smoke. The children were reportedly at their grandparents' home when the storm came through. The woman was able to escape unharmed with the family pets.
At least four engines responded to the fire on Lake Forest Drive. The fire reportedly got into the attic area, where fire crews battled to put out persistent hot spots.
The family had lived in the rented home for about a year, according to the homeowner.
At least two other homes were also reported as being struck by lightning on Thursday. They reportedly sustained electrical damage but did not burn.
The 911 Communications Center received 175-180 calls reporting emergencies between 7 p.m. and midnight. The majority of the incidents were to report trees that had fallen, many across roadways. There were also many calls about power lines down throughout the county.
Many county agencies were involved in responding to the various incidents. Along with several Rockdale County Fire-Rescue units involved in removing trees from roadways, the Rockdale County Sheriff’s Office assembled two work crews, each consisting of one Deputy overseeing four inmates. The crews worked for two to three hours, traveling around the county cleaning up trees and any remaining debris that had fallen onto the roadway, RCSO Investigator Michael Camp said. The Rockdale County Department of Transportation also assembled a crew consisting of three personnel, which worked to remove trees from roadways primarily on the north end of the county.
Also, there were several motor vehicle accidents that occurred during the storms, including one on Highway 212 where a tree limb fell on a passenger car. Power outages also were reported in the northwest segment of the county, but it is believed to be restored at this time.
“Having all of these agencies working closely together on a daily basis enables us to work more efficiently when incidents such as the storms occur,” Fire Chief Daniel Morgan said.
There have been no reported injuries due to the storms at this time.