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Storm downs trees, sparks one house fire

Strong storms with heavy wind, rain and lightning moved through the area Thursday night, sparking at least one home fire in Meadowbrook subdivision in south Rockdale County and toppling this huge tree in Olde Town Conyers. The tree fell across Railroad Street at the Whistle Post Tavern Thursday night, and crews were still working Friday morning to remove it. In this photo, Enrique Olguin uses a chainsaw to cut up the tree and get it off power lines. Large trees were also downed at Rockdale Fire-Rescue on Rockbridge Road and on Main Street in Olde Town. Pedro Espinoza, general foreman with the Asplundh Tree Expert Co., said his crew had been working to remove fallen trees throughout the metro area since about 6 p.m. Thursday. Check back for more details about storm damage. Staff Photo: Sue Ann Kuhn-Smith

Strong storms with heavy wind, rain and lightning moved through the area Thursday night, sparking at least one home fire in Meadowbrook subdivision in south Rockdale County and toppling this huge tree in Olde Town Conyers. The tree fell across Railroad Street at the Whistle Post Tavern Thursday night, and crews were still working Friday morning to remove it. In this photo, Enrique Olguin uses a chainsaw to cut up the tree and get it off power lines. Large trees were also downed at Rockdale Fire-Rescue on Rockbridge Road and on Main Street in Olde Town. Pedro Espinoza, general foreman with the Asplundh Tree Expert Co., said his crew had been working to remove fallen trees throughout the metro area since about 6 p.m. Thursday. Check back for more details about storm damage. Staff Photo: Sue Ann Kuhn-Smith

From Staff Reports

CONYERS -- A strong storm that moved through Rockdale County Thursday night knocked down trees, downed power lines and sparked a home fire in a south Rockdale subdivision. No injuries have been reported in connection with the storm.

Three homes were reportedly struck by lightning; one located on Lake Forest Drive in the Meadowbrook subdivision caught fire and sustained significant damage, according to Lt. Chris Kozikowski of Rockdale Fire-Rescue.

Kozikowski said the homeowner was at home at the time the house caught fire. When Fire-Rescue units arrived, flames were showing through the roof, he said.

The homeowner escaped unharmed.

The other two homes that were struck by lightning sustained mainly damage to electrical systems, he said. No smoke or flames were reported at those residences.

In all, the 911 Communications Center received as many as 180 calls reporting emergencies between 7 p.m. and midnight Thursday. The majority of the calls were to report trees that had fallen, many across roadways, Kozikowski said. There were also numerous reports of power lines down.

Several Fire-Rescue units were involved in removing trees from roadways.

In addition, Investigator Michael Camp with the Rockdale County Sheriff's Office said the RCSO organized two work crews consisting of one deputy supervising four inmates. The crews worked several hours, traveling throughout the county and clearing trees and other debris from roadways.

The Rockdale County Department of Transportation also assemble a crew of three people who worked to remove trees from roadways, primarily on the north side of the county.

Several motor vehicle accidents were reported during the storm, including one on Ga. Highway 212 where a tree limb fell on a passenger car.

Power outages were reported in the northwest portion of the county.

Fire-Rescue Chief Dan Morgan said the departments' ability to work in cooperation with one another is a plus for the county.

"Having all of these agencies working closely together on a daily basis enables us to work more efficiently when incidents such as the storms occur," Morgan said.