A possible lightning strike is the cause of a fire that destroyed a home on Standing Boy Road today as a thunderstorm rolled through the valley, authorities said.
Firefighters found the entire neighborhood filled with heavy smoke before locating the burning home at 7233 Standing Boy Road in Green Island, said Fire Marshal Ricky Shores of the Columbus Department of Fire and Emergency Medical Services. Firefighters entered the burning home and rescued two mixed breed bull dogs, including one who bit a firefighter.
Eight units with 24 firefighters battled the blaze for about 45 minutes before the fire was under control, said Battalion Chief Donnie Jones. By that time, flames had gutted the 4,600 square-foot structure valued at $1 million.
The fire was reported at 4:22 p.m., about the same time a thunderstorm packing gusting winds, lightning and pea-sized hail struck the area.
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Shores said there is a possibility the unoccupied home was struck by lightning. The owner of the home is Jayne Patrick.
A neighbor said she heard a pop before hearing all the sirens. She also saw a flash of light and felt the thunder strike. That was just minutes before the sirens and fire trucks filled the street.
Muscogee, Harris and Talbot counties were under a severe thunderstorm warning from the National Weather Service in Peachtree City before the fire was reported.
Forecasters projected 60-mph wind gusts and half dollar-size hail which could damage vehicles, roofs and siding. As the storm moved through Columbus, pea-sized hail was falling in downtown about 4:25 p.m. Public safety officials also were taking calls on possible street flooding and downed trees on power lines.
Bob Jeswald, a meteorologist for WRBL-TV3, said a system stalled over the area creating pop-up showers and wind gusts. "I think in Harris County there could be some hail and wind," he said.
Pat Biegler, director of Public Works, said calls throughout the city were minor during the storm. They included some street flooding and tree limbs on the streets.
At least 1,140 Georgia Power customers were without power after the storm. The outages were scattered throughout the city along Wynnton Road, Parkchester Drive and other areas. Power was expected to be restored by midnight or earlier, according to the company’s outage website.