Keith Road home damaged in blaze
by WES MAYER
The storm system that swept through Georgia late Thursday left behind a fair amount of damage in Coweta County and most likely caused a house fire.
The storms in Coweta were part of the system that spawned two confirmed EF-1 tornadoes that touched down in Cherokee and Cobb counties. A survey team with the National Weather Service was assessing several metro Atlanta counties Friday.
According to Jay Jones, director of Coweta County Emergency Management, 11 trees fell on roads and highways around Coweta. Downed power lines were reported on 27 Arnco 1st St., and two lightning strikes were reported on 4 East Front St. and 6 Lakeview Drive.
There was also a fire reported at a Newnan Utilities substation, a tree fell on a house on 24 Johnson Ave., and a house did catch fire during the middle of the storm at 288 Keith Road, Jones said.
Fortunately, no personal injuries were reported from the damage, authorities said.
According to Coweta County Fire Department Deputy Chief Todd Moore, units arrived at the two-story log house on Keith Road to discover a working fire. The fire originated in a front bedroom of the home and spread to the front porch due to the storm’s 25 mph cross winds. The cause of the fire is most likely weather-related.
The house was situated approximately 800 to 1,000 feet away from the road, Moore said. However, the firefighters were still able to create a water supply line from the road to the house. Operating in severe weather, firefighters launched an aggressive interior attack on the fire and successfully brought it under control, Moore said. The house received moderate damage, and the homeowner was present but was not harmed in the fire.
“Our guys really performed well under some rough conditions and were able to mitigate the fire quickly, which resulted in a lot of personal possessions of the homeowner being saved,” Moore said.
One firefighter sustained a minor ankle injury but is expected to make a full recovery.
According to Associated Press, a survey team with the National Weather Service confirmed two tornadoes touched down in Cherokee and Cobb counties as part of a system of severe thunderstorms that moved across the northern part of the state, leaving thousands without power and a mess of downed trees and power lines.
Clean-up efforts and work to restore power continued Friday, a day after the severe weather passed through. Hundreds of trees were snapped or uprooted along the 8 1/2-mile path of Thursday evening’s tornado in Cherokee County, which was classified as an EF-1 with peak winds estimated at 105 miles per hour. Nine people were injured with no deaths reported.
A second EF-1 tornado initially touched down near the Cherokee-Cobb county line and moved through Cobb County with crews tracking damage into Fulton County. Peak winds were estimated at 110 miles per hour with no injuries or deaths reported.
According to Association Press, by Friday afternoon, about 44,000 Georgia Power customers were still without power, with most in metro Atlanta. Crews from south Georgia and Alabama were in the area to help, the utility said.
Kennesaw State University, northwest of Atlanta, said it was canceling all classes Friday due to power outages. Georgia Perimeter College also canceled Friday classes at its Dunwoody campus, and Oglethorpe University in DeKalb County was closed because of storm damage near campus.
In Sandy Springs, just north of Atlanta, roads were blocked by fallen limbs and debris. The Sandy Springs Municipal Court was closed Friday because of a power outage, and City Hall delayed opening until 10 a.m.
In the Cherokee County town of Canton, just northwest of Atlanta, National Weather Service forecasters say falling trees left two people with non-life threatening injuries, according to the Associated Press report. Authorities say they suspect that many of the fallen trees in metro Atlanta were toppled by powerful straight-line winds.