The storm that hit Gwinnett County on Tuesday evening (July 10) caused house fires in the Suwanee and Lawrenceville areas and downed trees and power lines in Peachtree Corners.
Gwinnett Fire/Emergency Services Capt. Tommy Rutledge said neighbors witnessed a lightning strike to a house in the 700 block of McKendree Lake Way in Lawrenceville, between Lawrenceville and Suwanee. Firefighters found heavy fire in the attic on arrival.
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Crews quickly contained the flames to the attic and kept it from spreading to the rest of the home. The blaze caused significant damage to the attic, but left the roof intact.
An adult occupant escaped unharmed. The occupant was displaced by the damage and was assisted by family members.
Also Tuesday, a lightning strike caused a fire to a house in the 100 block of Paris Drive in Lawrenceville. Gwinnett crews found heavy flames and smoke showing from the attic and roof of a two-story wood frame house on a basement.
First-due firefighters deployed attack lines and immediately entered the burning structure to conduct a search and battle the blaze. Fire crews were forced to back out and fight the fire from the outside (defensive mode) due to intense fire conditions and a partial collapse of the roof. Firefighters operated multiple handlines and flowed water from an aerial device to bring the fire under control and protect exposures. The blaze caused heavy damage to the structure.
The resident, an adult male, was home at the time and heard lightning hit the house. He was alerted to the fire by the smell of smoke and escaped unharmed
In Peachtree Corners, Rutledge said when fire crews arrived shortly after 7 p.m., firefighters found "access streets blocked to the Spalding Corners subdivision off Spalding Drive." There were also "several other reports of wires and trees down in the surrounding community."
Rutledge said there were a number of streets blocked due to downed trees, including Heathwood, Sunflower, Rosecommon, and Frank Neely.
"Firefighters were able to cut trees from the roadway in order to gain access to the back part of the neighborhood and other areas to check for further damage," Rutledge said. "There were widespread power outages reported in the immediate area."
Rutledge said there were no reports of major damage to any Peachtree Corners homes and no injuries reported.
Peachtree Corners Patch contributed to this report.