As of Thursday, July 24, 2014
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Four wheelchair-bound patients were evacuated and dozens more were sheltered in place behind fire doors Thursday afternoon after a lightning strike blasted a cupola on the roof of Rockdale Healthcare Center and started a smoldering fire in the attic. No one was injured in the incident, and the fire was quickly extinguished. (Staff Photo: Julie Wells)
CONYERS — A bolt of lightning struck the cupola atop the roof of Rockdale Healthcare Center on Renaissance Drive Thursday afternoon, resulting in the evacuation of some of the facility’s patients.
Rockdale Fire Rescue Chief Dan Morgan said the lightning strike essentially blew apart the architectural feature on top of the roof and then started a smoldering fire in the attic of the building.
No one was hurt in the incident and the fire was extinguished shortly after firefighters arrived.
Multiple units from Rockdale Fire Rescue, the Conyers Police Department, Rockdale County Sheriff’s Office and National EMS responded to the call that went out about 3:30 p.m. as a storm with heavy rain and lightning moved through the area.
According to fire and National EMS officials, the 95 patients in the building were quickly evacuated or sheltered in place. Four wheelchair-bound patients were evacuated to another building nearby and 91 patients were sheltered in place behind fire doors.
Shortly after 4 p.m. Morgan said that firefighters had determined there was no fire in the building. It remained to be seen if the electrical system had been damaged. Morgan said if power to the building had to be disconnected, the patients remaining in the building would have to be evacuated.
Rockdale Healthcare Center provides long-term care as well as short-term rehabilitation.