Damaging storms hit Durham, Orange counties

June 23, 2010 8:20:56 PM PDT
Residents in Orange and Durham counties are cleaning up after the extreme heat fueled a line of damaging thunderstorms Wednesday.The fierce wind and heavy rains knocked out power to The Streets at Southpoint Mall around 3 p.m., forcing some stores to close for several hours.

According to Battalion Chief Sannipoli, the power went out along Fayetteville Road and he estimated about 2,000 people were outside of Southpoint Mall at the time of the outage.

Sierra Jackson with the City of Durham Fire Department says there was a problem with an electrical substation on Garret Road, causing a woods fire that firefighters quickly extinguished.

According to Duke Energy, they were swamped with reports of downed power lines. More than 2,000 customers were left without power at the height of the storm.

Strong winds also toppled trees all over Durham and Hillsborough Wednesday afternoon.

One tree on Hillandale Road in Durham came crashing down on 17-year-old Roy Nixon's house while he and his sister were inside, but both managed to get out unharmed.

"Everything just started coming down," Nixon said. "I heard the crack and the boom and everything. The whole thing started coming down this whole wall of dust and smoke and debris."

Their home now has a gaping hole in the roof after water came gushing in leaving the house a mess.

"We've cleaned up most of it, but we still got a long way to go, still got to get rid of the tree," Nixon said.

In Hillsborough, a tree caught on fire after it fell across Dairyland Road, but crews were able to extinguish the blaze.

Nancy Arellano, who lives at the home near where the tree fell, says several of her neighbors had no power because of the accident.

"It was just a crash, it was not terribly loud and the power immediately went off so I knew something had happened," Arellano said.

Arellano says she is just thankful the tree fell away from her house.

As of midnight, only 300 residents were still without power in the area.

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