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Cleanup under way at Mansfield Oil after Tuesday night storms

More than 2 inches of rain recorded at Gainesville airport

POSTED: July 27, 2008 5:01 a.m.
Sara Guevara/The Times

Employees from Carroll Daniel Construction Co. clear away debris and other material left over after part of Mansfield Oil Co.'s roof collapsed during the storm Tuesday night.

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Tuesday night storms brought much-needed rain to the area, but they also downed trees and caused property damage that kept residents and clean-up crews busy Wednesday.

Lightning was the particular culprit, striking at least one home in West Hall, a storage building in Flowery Branch and a gas line at Chicopee Woods Golf Course on Atlanta Highway.

More than 2 inches of rain fell between 7 and 8 p.m. at Lee Gilmer Memorial Airport in Gainesville.

The heavy rain accumulated on the roof of Mansfield Oil Co. at 1025 Airport Parkway in Gainesville, causing a partial collapse and sending "water through about half of the building," said Brad Puryear, general counsel for Mansfield.

Eight to 10 people were working at the business Tuesday evening when employees noticed "the interior ceiling was starting to buckle a little bit," Puryear said.

They decided to leave the building and, a few minutes later, the roof began crumpling inward, damaging office equipment and spilling out yellow insulation as it went.

"As soon as the roof started to collapse, we called the fire and police department and they were very quick to respond," Puryear said. "... Fortunately, through this, we had an emergency response plan … that we mobilized immediately."

Business is going on as usual, even though employees are working in cramped quarters in another part of the building, Puryear said.

Crews spent Wednesday clearing the building of water and debris. Some 200 people work at the Airport Parkway office.

A dollar estimate of the damage wasn’t available.

Elsewhere on Tuesday, lightning struck a home on J. White Road off McEver Road in West Hall, said Capt. Scott Cagle, fire marshal with Hall County Fire Services.

Cagle said the lightning caused minor damage but didn’t spark a fire.

Also, lightning hit a gas line at Chicopee Woods Golf Course’s clubhouse but caused no damage to the structure.

Other calls run by Hall County firefighters included:

  • A 30-foot by 10-foot storage building at 5245 Gainesville St. in Flowery Branch was destroyed by lightning. Lawn mowers, saws, garden equipment, a pressure washer and other items were lost in the fire, Cagle said.
  • The storm knocked down trees on White Sulphur Road in East Hall.
  • Flooding occurred on Winder Highway in South Hall.
  • A transformer fire occurred at 3721 Harmony Church Road in East Hall.

Authorities also responded to numerous wrecks, and commercial and residential false fire alarms, Cagle said.


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