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Strong Storms Spark Fires, Knock Out Power
Updated May 5, 2013 12:11 AM | Filed under: WBIW News
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(UNDATED) - Storms built up over western Indiana and blew through Indianapolis, knocking power out to hundreds of homes Wednesday evening.

The heaviest concentration of damage from Wednesday night's first wave of storms appeared to be in the town of Hope in northeast Bartholomew County, where storms knocked down trees and power lines, creating power outages in the town.

Police in Hope say one building lost its roof, and the police station is operating on generator power.

Bartholomew County EMA crews will survey the damage Thursday morning.

Noblesville firefighters responded to a pair of fires that were called in between 2:45 and 3:00 a.m. following lightning strikes.

Carmel and Indianapolis fire crews worked a house fire on Huron Way, near 131st and Shelbourne Road that is believed to be caused by a lightning strike.

As the second wave of storms moved east, Muncie emergency crews responded to lightning strikes. One fire sent a police officer to the hospital, but a dispatcher said the injuries were not serious.

The storms fired up around 9:30 p.m. Tuesday in central Indiana, prompting one severe thunderstorm warning for parts of Marion, Johnson and Shelby counties. Many areas saw quick downpours of rain, heavy lightning and even some small hail.

Fair fans left the Indiana State Fair early Wednesday night, after a brief thunderstorm crossed over the fairgrounds.

The fair's operations center began warning staff about approaching bad weather as early as 7:30 p.m. After 9:00, when the National Weather Service issued the severe thunderstorm warning for Marion County, the fair made announcements that guests should seek shelter in secure buildings. Some of those buildings are normally closed and locked at 9:00, but after the warning, the operations center ordered them unlocked to give people a place to hide out.

At 12:30 p.m., IPL reported 1,200 customers in Marion County without power. About 800 of those were in the western part of the county. As many as 3,200 customers were without electricity earlier in the night.

Duke Energy only reported about 200 customers without power shortly after midnight, down from more than 1,000 at the time of the storm. That number dwindled to under 200 until the second wave of storms struck overnight.

Firefighters in Avon say a woman arriving home saw lightning strike her mobile home. She went inside to get her husband, who was sleeping, out of the home, before it was destroyed by fire. The Avon Fire Department responded to four lightning strike runs Wednesday evening, but only one resulted in a fire.

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