The News Courier in Athens, Alabama

Local News

June 9, 2014

Storm sweep: Blaze destroys brick dwelling in Tanner

Saturday storms cause widespread damage

— A single-story brick house outside of Tanner became engulfed in flames Saturday night on the heels of severe thunderstorms that caused extensive damage in Limestone County.

Volunteer fire departments from Tanner and Clements and Athens Fire and Rescue responded to 18638 Laughmiller Road after the call came in at about 9:40 p.m. No injuries were reported at the scene, and the cause has not been determined.

Tanner firefighter Terry Wallace said officials could not speculate on what started the blaze, describing the home as a total loss. Athens was called to provide mutual aid. Clements also responded, providing at least four firefighters and a tanker.

The property is owned by Leonard Daniel Brown of Tanner, according to county records.

The storms kept emergency officials scrambling from about 8:25 p.m. until 10 p.m., as they responded to at least 15 locations with fallen power lines, trees and poles from Coxey to Capshaw.

Eddie Gilbert, safety officer with the county’s Emergency Management Agency, attributed the damage to high-velocity winds, adding the EF-3 twister that heavily impacted Coxey and Athens on April 28 likely weakened some of the trees felled on Saturday.

“There were several trees and power lines down due to widespread, straight-line wind damage,” he said. “We had one report of a tree hitting a house in town. I saw two barns that were blown down on Coffman Road, which is in between Elkmont and Owens.”

A residence at Coffman Mobile Home Estates on Tillman Mill Road in Owens had its “top blown off and the walls were blown down,” Gilbert said.

Athens Utilities spokeswoman Amy Golden said Monday about 3,500 customers lost power during the storms. She said power was restored to all customers except those with homes or businesses requiring repairs that preclude utility reconnection.

“We had about 13 poles down Saturday,” Golden said. “During the (April) tornado, most of the damage was limited to one area, but this time it was in different locations around the county.”

— Rebecca Croomes contributed to this report.


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