Lightning-caused brush fires, T-bone crash reported 20 minutes apart in Colorado City

Stock image, Apache Junction, Arizona, Aug. 22, 2013 | Photo by Ed Ouimette via Wikimedia Commons, St. George News

ST. GEORGE — Resources were stretched thin Saturday when lightning struck two power poles in Colorado City, Arizona, causing brush fires that sent flames 20-feet into the air, followed by a T-bone crash reported 20 minutes later that sent one man to the hospital.

At 3:27 p.m. firefighters and emergency responders were dispatched to a brush fire reported on state Route 389 near mile marker 7 in Colorado City.

Upon arrival responders found that lightning had struck a power pole, causing an arc that set the pole on fire, Hildale/Colorado City Fire Chief Kevin Barlow said. The same lightning strike started a second fire three poles to the south when it struck the switch gear that arced and also caught fire, Barlow said.

Colorado City Marshal’s Office responded and stopped traffic in both directions for approximately 15 minutes to protect motorists from the growing flames.

“The wind-driven fire shot 20 feet in the air, blowing directly across the highway,” Barlow said.

Once flames were no longer shooting across SR-389, one lane was reopened in each direction and traffic resumed.

“Even though there was very little moisture directly over the fire area, the storm caused erratic winds that created a high potential for fire spread,” Barlow said.

Firefighters remained on scene for nearly three hours to ensure all burning embers and areas were completely extinguished.

Damage was confined to the power poles and approximately 1 1/2 acres burned. The nearest structures were approximately 1,000 feet away.

Both power poles and equipment were extensively damaged, which led to a power outage lasting 6 1/2 hours in the Cane Beds and Centennial Park communities of Mohave County, Arizona.

Garkane Energy emergency crews responded and replaced the burned power pole and downed power lines, restoring service to residents shortly before 10 p.m.

While crews were addressing the brush fires, a T-bone crash was reported at 3:57 p.m. just a few miles away in the intersection of SR-389 and Airport Avenue in Colorado City, Barlow said. The crash involved a full-sized pickup truck and a Hyundai Sonata passenger car.

The crash was triggered when the pickup truck pulled out onto SR-389 directly in the path of the Hyundai heading south.

The impact caused extensive damage and injured the Hyundai driver, who was subsequently transported to Dixie Regional Medical Center via ambulance in stable condition.

The crash was investigated by the Colorado City Marshal’s Office, and limited details were available at the writing of this report.

The Colorado City Fire Department and the Colorado City Marshal’s Office responded and tended to both the brush fire and crash.

This report is based on statements from police or other emergency responders and may not contain the full scope of findings.

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