SPENCER – The Spencer Fire Department was in shock on Thursday when they were struck by lightning.
The strike near the department’s flagpole caused some visible damage to the premises and the outside of the building, but some equipment was also destroyed inside. The station’s air compressor has been damaged and the station’s internet connection has been lost. The hall lighting, the station alarm system, a basic radio, a computer, a monitor, a television and the station ice machine were also affected, said fire department chief Michael Lanning.
The fire engines use air brakes and the compressor is used to quickly charge the brakes when the trucks are in use. The pressure in the brakes needs to build up to 100 psi before they can release and the trucks can move.
Lanning said phone replies would be delayed by three to five minutes while the city plans to replace the compressor. Lanning said he had already obtained permission from the NC League of Municipalities, which the city insures, to purchase a compressor before the department’s claim is finalized.
Lanning said he had also informed the aid agencies of the delay.
It is unclear whether the lightning hit the flagpole or the area between the mast and the side of the station. Some paving stones are damaged at the station entrance, but a contractor needs to assess the full extent of the damage.
The city’s liability insurance through the league has a deductible of $ 2,500. Lanning said it would be cheaper to pay the deductible than to pay the damage out of pocket.
“Thank goodness for the insurance,” Councilor Sharon Hovis said during the meeting of the Spencer Board of Alderman on Tuesday.
Lanning said the department will make sure every device has a surge protector in the future.
“That’s part of the problem,” Lanning said, adding that he never personally made sure everything was plugged into a surge protector.
City manager Peter Franzese told the Post on Wednesday that the city was determining a dollar value for the damage.