Storms, Wreck Make For Busy Saturday For Firefighters

July 14, 2008
Tom R. Duggin

Lightning during several thunderstorms on Saturday kept local DeKalb County volunteer firefighters on the move, and a wreck added to the busy day.

Local county fire chief, Donnie Green, said local fire departments received four calls within a span of about 30 minutes on Saturday, all related to the storms that rumbled through the area. Green noted most of the alarms were caused by lightning, which set off several home alarms, but county fire officials did respond to a fire at an outbuilding at a Lakeside Drive residence in the Lakeside Mountain Estates Development. Green said lightning struck a nearby tree, and ran underground into the outbuilding causing the fire. The surge also ran into the home through electrical outlets and damaged several appliances, although no fire was reported in the home.

Green said the homeowners reside out of town, and use the residence primarily as a weekend home.

Before local fire officials were finished at the scene, another call came in directing firefighters to a single car accident in the Dry Creek community near Possum Hollow road. Trooper Mark Jones of the Tennessee Highway Patrol told WJLE that 49-year-old Martin Allen Arnold of Bluff Springs Road, McMinnville was driving a 1997 GMC Sierra pick-up, when his car ran off the left side of the road, went down a steep embankment and was trapped in some trees. Arnold was pinned in the vehicle and had to be extricated by DeKalb EMS. Jones said Arnold was coherent, but had to be life-flighted from the scene to Erlanger Hospital in Chattanooga with serious head and neck injuries.

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