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Covington residents react to Thursday’s severe weather damage

Published: Jun. 17, 2022 at 10:18 PM EDT
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COVINGTON, Va. (WDBJ) - Severe weather hit many of our hometowns Thursday night into Friday morning. But it left significant damage at Covington’s Public Works Building.

“I had not ever witnessed anything like that in my life,” said Heather Williams, who works at the Union Hall Local 675 next door.

Just before midnight Friday, Williams received a call about a motion sensor going off at the Union Hall where she works. But when she got on scene, it definitely wasn’t what she was expecting to see.

”The lightning around the town last night was crazy and we’ve seen lightning before, but I’ve never seen a strike actually like this,” said Williams.

“I’ve seen trees struck by lightning, I’ve seen the power of lightning but I’ve never seen anything like this,” said Mayor Tom Sibold.

Williams immediately called the police, who she said were just as shocked as she was.

The city believes a lightning strike near the area hit the fence, traveled through the ground and hit an unused underground gasoline storage tank, which then exploded.

“There’s trucks turned over, asphalt went through the building, it tore up a lot,” said Sibold.

The good news is nobody was hurt.

“We were fortunate last night there wasn’t anything else going on and they didn’t have anybody out there,” said Sibold.

“Luckily no one was there. Just the radius of the debris was nothing like I’d ever seen before,” said Williams.

Covington leaders are still assessing the damage and will decide if they want to rebuild in this area or move the operations elsewhere.

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