Storms cause area damage

Photo by Casey Dixon

Photo by Casey Dixon

ALBANY, Ga. -- Severe thunderstorms blasted lightning strikes, wind-driven rain and damage through Dougherty County Tuesday night.

About 25 choir members fled from the Harvest Kingdom Jubilee Ministries church at 1701 S. Slappey Blvd., at about 8:10 p.m. when the roof began lifting from the building.

"There were no injuries," said William Revill, chairman of the church and choir. "There were some vehicles damaged."

An Albany Fire Department truck's ladder took firefighters over the roof to survey the damage. The flat roof had peeled off and rain continued to leak into the building, Battalion Chief Keith Ambrose said at about 9 p.m.

No cost estimate on the damage was immediately available. Church officials said that the building was insured.

The crackle of lightning, gusts of wind and periods of heavy rain were all part of a busy night that kept emergency responders rolling to various weather-damaged locations.

"We've responded to six lightning strike calls in about the last 10 minutes," said Ambrose. "People smell the lightning strike and call a structure fire. We respond. There are power lines down and trees across streets. We respond."

Standing in the parking lot of the church, Pastor Howard Jones didn't seem upset by the damage to his church.

Jones referred to the floods that sometimes inundate Albany such as the ones in 1990s.

"If you can survive a flood, you can survive a wind blow. Natural things will happen," Jones said. "But we would like to solicit prayers from all God's children, black, white, young, old. And any financial support would be appreciated."