UPDATED: 4:21 p.m.
Heavy rain early this morning likely contributed to a wreck that injured three firefighters and at least one of two house fires that left two families looking for a place to live.
The first fire, at 6095 Vickery Point in the Vickery Lake subdivision was called in at about 5:30 this morning, at the height of the storms that rolled through, according to Division Chief Jason Shivers with the Forsyth County Fire Department. “There was heavy, heavy rain, and a lot of lightning. The homeowner said he felt the house shake, heard a boom, and smelled smoke moments later.
As firefighters began to fight the flames, some of the attic space collapsed on one of the first companies inside. “Some of the attic space fell in, briefly trapping one of the firefighters, but he was quickly rescued by a Rapid Intervention Team.” That firefighter was taken to North Fulton Hospital Trauma Center for treatment.
Shivers said the home received significant damage, and that the residents, a grandfather and grandmother, along with their three grandchildren were displaced from the home until it can be repaired. “The Red Cross is helping them to find temporary shelter, but they won’t be able to move back in until the house is repaired” Shivers said. All of the residents, including the family dog, escaped injury.
One of the engines responding to that fire, engine six, housed at fire station six on Brookwood Road was involved in a traffic accident on Shiloh Road near Mars Hill Road, adding to the already busy morning. “It was a single vehicle crash…the engine left the roadway and overturned on Shiloh Road” said Shivers. “It was at the height of the storm, and they were even driving through a tornado warning at the time…we cannot say for certain that the weather caused the accident, but their certainly could be a correlation” he said.
All three firefighters were taken to North Fulton Hospital Trauma Center to be evaluated, but the injuries were all minor.” We buy heavy-duty, well-built custom designed high end fire engines, which have rollover protection, crash protection and airbag systems to protect the crew. All of those systems worked as expected, and no doubt led to the firefighters only receiving minor injuries” said Shivers.
Shivers said the accident is under investigation, and that the data recorder on the fire engine should add to the information investigators will have available to determine what happened.
Firefighters also responded to a second fire, this one at 1820 Saddleridge Drive in southern Forsyth County just after 11:00 a.m. Deputies who arrived reported seeing flames coming from the back of the house and began evacuating nearby neighbors.
Shivers said there were three people living in this house, although no one was at home at the time of the fire. “There was a mother, father, and child living here, and again the Red Cross is assisting the family, but they have definitely been displaced by the fire.” Shivers said the damage to this house was more extensive, and that the cause is under investigation. “It’s possible that the weather earlier could be a factor, but we can’t that for certain at this time” said Shivers.
As of 12:00 p.m. on Friday, all four firefighters have been released from the hospital.
See Sunday's Forsyth County News for more on today's weather events.