Authorities say Tuesday’s storms are likely to blame for a fire at a downtown Danville business that could have ended up much worse.
“It could have gone bad for us, but the guys did a great job and I’m very happy with how it turned out,” said Fire Chief Woody Ball.
Ball said a call came in from Clay & Clay law offices at 319 W. Main St. shortly before noon about a fire in an upstairs bathroom. When crews arrived minutes later from the nearby central fire station, Ball said flames were showing but firefighters quickly extinguished the fire with only a few gallons of water.
Sarah Akers, who works in the offices, said there were burning pieces of ceiling tile falling to the floor when she walked into the area near the bathroom. She said it was initially thought to have been caused by a direct lightning hit.
Fire Marshal Ken Pflug’s investigation, though, determined the fire was started when the bathroom ceiling fan locked up due to a power surge. It appeared to have been caused when electricity was knocked out and came back on in rapid succession over a short period of time due to lightning strikes in the area.
The fire chief said there was only smoke damage resulting from the small blaze and offices were able to reopen for business later Tuesday afternoon. He said quick action by Akers and the crews that mobilized to fight the fire was critical.
Ball and others on the department breathed a sigh of relief once the situation was under control. He said the age of the building, which sits directly next to the Boyle County Courthouse, and its proximity to so many other historical structures, were concerns.
“We take all fires seriously, but any time you have a fire of any size in those buildings on Main Street, you take it very seriously because if you don’t stop it, it could end up being the whole block,” Ball said.