Created: Fri, 16 Aug 2013 09:11:00 EST
Updated: Mon, 19 Aug 2013 09:50:25 EST
In an online chat with the National Weather Service Friday, Crisp County's Emergency Management Director revealed how fires, floods, and fallen trees caused possibly hundreds of thousands of dollars in damage to property in the county overnight.
When 65-year-old Linda Baker arrived for her appointment at a Cordele accounting firm Friday, she didn't know what to do after seeing the building's roof was completely burned out.
"First of all I didn't see any cars, I looked up and I saw the top of the building, and I said oh no," Baker said.
Luckily for her accountant Charles Helms was on the scene. Helms says he was working in the building with a few other staff members when a suspected lightning bolt hit around 2 a.m. Friday. Helms says he heard a boom and the electricity went out, but he didn't suspect a fire until he went upstairs to inspect.
After discovering a fire, Helms ordered his staff to save the computers, and firefighters battled the fire until dawn.
The EMA Director's chat also revealed a church in Cordele could have sustained $13,000 in flood damage. A secretary at the Crisp County Sheriff's Office says the church is the Cordele Church of Christ. A neighboring business says he has seen the church pumping water out of its basement the last few days.
One man says the storm was unusually violent.
"Lightning started popping real heavy, the ground started shaking," said Mark Toms of Cordele. "It was scary, a lot of rain, but the lightning and thunder, was really really strong."
The Sheriff's Office also confirmed a deputy's patrol car was damaged by a fallen tree during the storm. The online chat shows the damage may be around $6,000.