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Lightning strikes twice: Law Enforcement Center hit second time in a year

For the second time in a year, lightning struck the McDuffie County Law Enforcement Center this past weekend, taking out computer systems for several hours.

During a thunderstorm shortly after 7 a.m. Saturday, lightning hit the LEC, blowing out routers and computers that had barely survived the June 8, 2005 strike. That bolt last year knocked out a storage server and nearly a year's worth of data.

The server and backup both survived Saturday's strike which was one positive to come from the ordeal, said Kelly Evans, Thomson-McDuffie County information technology director.

"That goes towards that we did something right," she said. "I don't know what it was necessarily, but we did something right."

Preliminary estimates on damage put the figure above $25,000, Mrs. Evans said.

Again this time, emergency dispatchers hand answered 911 calls for more than an hour on Saturday while computer systems were restored, a 25-step process. Also, electronic doors at the center were locked down for a large portion of the day.

"It took most of the day to get everything back up and get it operational. And we're still waiting on equipment to come in," Mrs. Evans said.

In all, six computers, two switches, two modems, a printer and various 911 equipment will all have to be replaced after the strike, according to Mrs. Evans. She said that could prove to be a costly endeavor for both Thomson and McDuffie County, but one that needs to be done to keep law enforcement running at full capacity.

Web posted on Wednesday, April 26, 2006

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