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HEAVY STORM DAMAGE HERE; two fatalities reported; shelter open; schools closed

A tornado and heavy thunderstorm devastated Lamar County early Thursday morning leaving widespread damage and at least two dead. Due to so many road closures across the county, Lamar County schools are closed Thursday. The Grove Street area appears to be among the hardest hit where there are two reported fatalities at a mobile home, multiple injuries, homes destroyed, downed power lines and trees across the road. School board member Ron Smith’s house on Grove Street was destroyed but he and his wife are not injured. Zoning administrator Dan Gunter is among those being treated for injuries. His condition is not life threatening. Mid Georgia Ambulance called in backup ambulances to assist in transporting injured victims to area hospitals. In addition to local law enforcement and emergency management officials, Zebulon police were also at the scene. Multiple trees are down, particularly on Hwy 18 West. A shelter for people who have been displaced from their homes is now open at the Service Center which is the former Barnesville Academy building in front of the soccer fields on Academy Drive and near Heritage Inn Nursing Home. Hot Shot on Highway 341 and Atlanta Street is completely demolished. Paul Buice’s home on Atlanta Street was destroyed. Mr. and Mrs. Buice are okay but shaken. Joe and Pat Edwards across the street from Hot Shot are okay. “It sounded just like a freight train. We are two very lucky people to be alive. There is not a tree left in our yard,” said Joe Edwards. According to Major Brad White of the Lamar County sheriff’s department, the most damaged areas are along Piedmont Road, Highway 18 West, Old Milner Road, Grove Street, Barnesville Avenue and Atlanta Street. Josh and Amanda Horne’s house on Old Milner Road was hit but not destroyed. The family is okay. Southern Rivers Energy has 2,700 reported outages. “We won’t really know what we have until daylight,” said spokesman Bobby Ferris. “We got rocked,” he said. Heavy damage in Sunnyside in Spalding County where people are still reported missing. The area around the Hot Shot on Highway 341 is closed. People are asked to stay away from the area. Post your damage reports as you can. We will post them as we can.

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