NA department responds to possible lightning-caused electrical fire

South Central was blocked between 6 and 7 a.m. while firefighters laid lines to extinguish a blaze a considerable distance off the street.
May 22nd, 2020     Featured General News

The New Albany Fire Department responded to a call during a thunderstorm early Friday that presented unusual challenges.

The call came in as a fire at 1309 South Central at 6:10 a.m.

“No other information was given so we responded with the assumption we were going to a structure fire,” Acting Chief Mark Whiteside said.

Upon arrival, crews were told the fire was back on a long gravel drive, he said.

“I rolled in first with the pickup truck to see what we had and, due to heavy rain, low-hanging utility lines, a narrow drive and low trees, I advised the crews to bring the engine in and not try to bring the ladder truck in due to the size and weight,” Whiteside said.

“We laid in our supply line from the engine at the hydrant and requested a water tanker from Ingomar as a precaution in the event we had any issues getting water that far off the road,” he continued.

When he got to the structure, Whiteside reported to incoming trucks that they had a structure with fire showing from the front door.

“There was a three-wheel motorcycle inside that we were able to get out,” he said, “and there was quite a bit of damage from fire, heat and smoke to the interior of the building.”

“Again, we were in a really good position with our manpower,” the chief said. “This is the second structure fire we have had where the call came in while our crews were changing shifts, which means we had more firefighters on the trucks than usual.”

“We had a few obstacles to overcome, but the crews used their knowledge, experience and quick thinking to make it happen and keep the damage less than what it could have been,” he said.

“The fire appeared to be electrical in nature, and we are still looking at possible lightning strikes in that vicinity prior to the fire,” he concluded.

No injuries were reported.

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