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Columbia Missourian

Severe weather causes power outages, fires

By Kelly Pack
May 8, 2009 | 12:28 p.m. CDT

COLUMBIA — With severe weather whipping through Columbia last night, power outages were frequent and kept members of Boone County Electric, Columbia Power and Light and the Columbia Fire Department busy.

According to Dan Stokes of Columbia Water and Light, there were four damaged power circuits, which left four Columbia areas — including parts of downtown — without power.

"Although these were just flashes of power loss, it still was a long night for the guys out there trying to get the lines back up," Stokes said.

In addition to the power outages, there were three fires Friday morning and one natural gas leak caused by what the Columbia Fire Department say appear to be lightening strikes.

Eight fire units responded to a 911 call for a house fire caused by lightening at 9:45 a.m. at 4200 Glen Eagle Drive in Columbia.

The house was evacuated when AmerenUE arrived at the scene to control the natural gas leak.

A few blocks away, a similar fire was reported at 3715 Woodrail on the Green. Lt. Shawn McCollom, the city's assistant fire marshal, said a lightening strike appeared to be the cause of the fire. 

Capt. Eric Hartman with the Columbia Fire Department said there have been no injuries because of these fires but is encouraging residents to heed local weather warnings and follow safety precautions.

"If your house is struck by lightening, call 911 immediately," Hartman said. "It could take hours before a fire makes itself aware."