DACULA - A fire station that opened Monday was struck by lightning Tuesday in a spate of thunderstorms that swept through Gwinnett.
"It could happen anywhere," said Lt. Thomas Rutledge, spokesman for the Gwinnett County Fire Department. "It could happen at a fire station."
The Dacula station on Old Fountain Road lost power and its phone lines with the strike, but firefighters still responded to a reported lightning strike at a day care center at 2:22 p.m., just after the station was hit, Rutledge said.
There was no smoke or fire at Station 27, and the day care center, Discovery Point Child Care on Auburn Road, also had no fire. The lightning struck an electrical panel box and the center lost power, Rutledge said.
But three other strikes caused fires and damage to homes in the area.
The first fire, in Dacula, burned the attic of a two-story wood frame house on Daniel Park Run at 2:27 p.m., Rutledge said.
That home had moderate-to-heavy damage from the blaze. No one was home at the time of the fire, and Rutledge said one neighbor knocked on the door to warn residents while another called 911 from her cell phone.
No one was injured and two people were displaced in that fire.
The second, on Iris Brooke Lane in Snellville, happened at 5:07 p.m. That fire was contained to the attic, Rutledge said.
No one was injured in that blaze, and no one was home at the time of the fire.
A neighbor was treated for smoke inhalation at the third fire, on Willowwind Drive in Loganville.
The neighbor, who was treated and released with minor injuries, went into the house to assess the damage caused by a lightning strike that hit the bonus room over the garage, Rutledge said.
That fire struck at 5:16 p.m.
Rutledge said when storms come through the area, residents should be aware of the possibility for fires. Unplugging appliances can help minimize the chance of fire and staying alert to the chance can help catch blazes so firefighters can respond, he said.
"During this time of year, we have an increased number of house fires due to lightning strikes," he said. "It's common with afternoon pop-up thunderstorms."