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Lightning strikes roof, fire destroys home

By By CHRISTINA HALE
Staff Writer
A Chocowinity family lost its home Wednesday morning on Nelson Farm Road after the roof caught fire during a thunderstorm.
A man, woman and children were able to escape unharmed, but their mobile home was completely destroyed, according to fire officials.
A bolt of lightning struck an aluminum vent on top of the mobile home around 4:20 a.m., said Tommy Pendley, assistant Chocowinity fire chief.
Firefighters conducted an “interior attack,” but the fire continued to spread, Pendley said.
The family, whose identity was not released, had gathered outside when fire officials arrived.
Fire officials with Blounts Creek Volunteer Fire Department, Bunyan Volunteer Fire Department and the City of Washington Fire-Rescue-EMS-Inspections Department assisted the Chocowinity Volunteer Fire Department and Chocowinity EMS.
Woogie’s Family Restaurant of Chocowinity provided food and drinks for emergency responders Wednesday morning at the scene. Chocowinity firefighters didn’t return to the station until 10:30 a.m. Wednesday, Pendley said.
The thunderstorms around Beaufort County caused “minor power outages” but everything was up and running by 11 a.m., Beaufort County Emergency Management Coordinator John Pack said Wednesday.
Lightning caused emergency communications in Hyde County to shut down around 7 p.m. Tuesday night, according to Tony Spencer, the emergency management coordinator there. Calls were rerouted to the Hyde County Sheriff’s Office’s main number.
The lightning struck the communication tower adjacent to the Hyde County Sheriff’s Office.
Communication cards inside the 911 computer were damaged. The radio console, which allows a dispatcher to talk on the radio, and the fire radio where also out.
Despite the damage, Hyde County Sheriff David Mason said things were “back up and fully operational” by Wednesday afternoon. “They worked on it all night and … got everything up,” Mason said.