Evening storm pounds Gwinnett
Wind, hail, lightning and fire sweep county

The skies over Gwinnett haven't been so midnight-black at 6 p.m. in a long time.

Firefighters called for assistance from DeKalb and Hall counties as a Friday evening storm swept across Gwinnett County, dumping rain and even hail on parched soil from Norcross to Dacula.

Over a two-hour span starting at about 6:30 p.m., firefighters were called to tackle four fires across Gwinnett.

That was in addition to a flurry of calls reporting hail, minor structural fires, downed wires, grass fires and auto accidents caused by torrential rain, wind and lightning.

No injuries were reported.

"We've been extremely busy," said Gwinnett Fire Department spokesman Lt. Thomas Rutledge. "A very impressive storm. It certainly made its mark through the county."

Just after 6:30 p.m., firefighters put out a residential fire on Willow Park Drive in Dacula and another on Wedgewood Chase in Norcross.

Fire crews then knocked down a house fire on Bruckner Boulevard in Snellville they were dispatched to at 7:53 p.m. The fourth fire was on Primrose Place in Lawrenceville.

The Snellville fire was the only fire not determined to be caused by lightning as of Friday night, Rutledge said.

Lightning struck a Duluth home, where multiple accidents and power outages were reported as the storm passed, a dispatcher said. Power outages also swept Lawrenceville, according to a dispatcher.

But to the west in Barrow County, Winder reportedly escaped the storm unharmed.

"We got a good torrential downpour," said a Winder dispatcher, "but no damage."

Gwinnett County Police Department spokeswoman Cpl. Illana Spellman said officers reported a high call volume.

Rutledge said Friday's incidents were typical of a powerful, summer storm in this part of Georgia. The dry weather this August and subsequent calm have been abnormal, he said.

"It's certainly busier than we've been in recent weeks," Rutledge said. "Last night DeKalb County was hit pretty hard and we were spared.

"Tonight, we were hit hard."