Busy Night For Fire Crews

By: Michael Gorsegner
By: Michael Gorsegner

August 30, 2005

Any time severe weather strikes an area, the first responders are always the first on the scene. Tonight was no different, and Albemarle County fire squads were kept quite busy.

Driving rain and heavy winds caused problems all throughout the viewing area especially in the northern section of Albemarle County. Just after 6 P.M., Albemarle Fire got the call for a house fire in the 5900 block of Markwood Road. Lightning struck a home causing a fire in the basement.

"Material that was affected by the lightning strike fell onto the tires and set them on fire. So we had some pretty nasty black smoke," said Chief Fred Huckstep of Earlysville Fire Department.

There were several occupants home but no one was injured. The home suffered extensive smoke damage. Although the lightning hit the top of the home, Chief Huckstep said it is not out of the ordinary to start a fire in the basement.

"The lightning is going to go wherever it wants to go. It found a path to get down to the basement where it caused all of the damage," he said.

It took fire units about an hour and a half to safely ventilate the home. Just after that, Fire and EMS were dispatched for the report of a car into a tree at the corner of Woodlands Road and Dunromin Road. During the heavy rains, an Explorer ran a stop sign striking an oncoming Chevy Suburban. It took EMS about thirty minutes to extricate the woman who was transported to a local hospital with non life threatening injuries. The road was closed for nearly an hour.

All of the tornado watches expired around 8:30. There were several reports of tornado touchdowns in those areas, but still no confirmation.

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