A storm that passed through Highland County on Tuesday afternoon created a busy day for the Paint Creek Joint EMS/Fire District, which in a stretch of less than an hour had to cover two fire runs and four “checkouts.”
It all started at 3:48 p.m., according to Branden Jackman, the public information officer for the district, and much of it was related to lightning.
That first call came from Lesia Langston-McKenna’s dental office at 321 Chillicothe Ave. on the east side of Hillsboro, where Jackman said a lightning strike was suspected. Jackman said firefighters found minor electronic damage, including some phones being out, but not much else.
Shortly thereafter the fire district received an alarm drop call from Kmart, but found no damage. Jackman said the alarm likely went off due to a power surge.
At 4:14 a.m. the district received a call from a residence at 207 N. West St. in Hillsboro to check what was believed to be another lightning strike, but Jackman said firefighters found no evidence of one.
At the same time, Jackman said Paint Creek firefighters were called to the Eric Long residence at 8770 SR 124. Jackman said that upon arrival at the scene firefighters found heavy smoke coming out of the basement.
The fire was still under investigation Wednesday and no cause had been determined, although Jackman said it was originally reported as a lightning strike.
He said there was moderate fire damage to the home’s basement and smoke damage throughout the rest of the structure, which likely displaced the residents.
The Lynchburg and Marshall Township fire departments provided mutual aid.
At 4:22 p.m. Paint Creek was dispatched to the Norma Johnson residence at 7445 Keplinger Road. Jackman said that what was likely a lightning strike melted a receptacle in a wall. He said there was light smoke damage to the home.
At 4:26 p.m. Paint Creek was called back to Kmart due to a reported smell of gas in the building, but nothing was found.
Jackman said Paint Creek also covered three squad runs Tuesday.
“We were very busy yesterday and into the evening,” Jackman said.
He also said Paint Creek wanted to send a special thank you to the Peebles Life Squad. He said Paint Creek received a mutual aid request from the Brushcreek Fire Department but couldn’t get to it, so Peebles covered the call for Paint Creek.
There were several power outages around the same time throughout parts of Hillsboro.
Reach Jeff Gilliland at 937-402-2522 or on Twitter @13gillilandj.