Lightning strikes 911 control center
By Tara DeRock Mahoney
Senior Staff Writer
A lightning strike downtown Friday night near the Emergency-911 building short-circuited several networks and damaged some equipment in county buildings.
“We had several computers damaged, some phones, some network cards,” said County Manager Michael Lamar.
The lightning hit in the vicinity of a tower behind the E-911 building and impacted services in that structure as well as in the county election offices and the Creamery. Some systems in the county archives building were also affected.
“I was coming into the 911 building at about 8:30 p.m. Friday night, when there was a lightning strike somewhere behind me,” said Bill Crew, the director of 911 services. “As I walked in, there was a second strike…I don’t think it was a direct hit, but it was very close.”
Crew said that the 911 staff noticed almost immediately that their computers were defunct. “We were looking at that ‘blue screen of death,’” Crew said with a laugh. “We lost contact with the Georgia Crime Information Center…and our weather service.”
The county was running as normal by Tuesday morning.
“One of the advantages to re-locating the 911 services to the [former] Denon building is that we’ll have a little bit more protection from events like this, a little more distance from the towers,” said Lamar.