Mont. Co. fire department dealing with lightning strikes, water rescues

WASHINGTON — Heavy rains, winds and lightning are hitting the entire WTOP area, but Montgomery County is getting hit particularly hard.

That’s the word from Pete Piringer, a spokesman for Montgomery County Fire and Rescue, speaking with WTOP’s Veronica Robinson shortly before 10 p.m. Starting at about 9 p.m., Piringer says, the fire department was “overrun by calls,” particularly from the Bethesda and Potomac areas.

He says they’ve been dealing with flash flooding and a dozen to two dozen water rescues. His first responders have been pulling people out of cars stuck in deep water, mostly in Potomac.

The fire department has also been dealing with lightning strikes and “a couple of significant fires,” including a two-alarm blaze in Rockville on Yale Place, off College Parkway, and a large house in River Road in Potomac. Both fires were probably caused by lightning strikes, Piringer says.

It’s all been happening too quickly for Piringer to have much information on innjuries, but he says that some people taken to the hospitals from the water rescues. “Nothing sounds too life-threatening,” he says.

The rain and lightning have reduced visibility on the roadways, and Piringer says there have been several accidents as well as three or four pedestrians struck by cars in the previous hour.

Perhaps unnecessarily, Piringer says, “If folks don’t need to be out, we certainly suggest they stay indoors.”

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