Lightning struck the Orr’s Island Fire Station the afternoon of June 17, damaging equipment and disrupting operations for the Orr’s and Bailey Islands Fire Department.
OBIFD Fire and Rescue Chief Benjamin Wallace Jr. found out about the strike from a neighbor who witnessed it and called him. Wallace said that he and other OBIFD members are still evaluating the damage.
“It’s a pretty significant hit for us,” Wallace said. “There’s no structural damage that we’re aware of, but we have a lot of equipment destroyed and damaged. The communications equipment that’s on the tower behind the station has been damaged. A lot of the network and IT equipment in the building has been damaged.”
Computers and a backup generator were also damaged, Wallace said, and the strike affected the building’s fire alarm system.
The department is replacing damaged equipment as quickly as possible. Wallace said that insurance will cover the bulk of the cost, which he expects to rise well into five figures — but repairs will take time.
In the meantime, the department remains ready to respond to emergencies.
“We’ll figure out how to work around it for now, but it’s challenging,” Wallace said.