Spencer Co. Dispatch hit by lightning for second time this decade

Spencer Co. Dispatch hit by lightning for second time this decade

SPENCER CO., Ind. (WFIE) - The Spencer County Dispatch center became the unfortunate exception to the old saying of “lightning never strikes the same place twice."

On July 3, a lightning bolt struck their building for the second time in nearly a decade. Computers sparked and batteries died, which wiped out the 911 service.

“I jumped up and my instinct was to stand up real quick," explained Dispatcher Sara Bittel. "Other dispatcher it kind of scared her she screamed a little.”

Within minutes they were making calls to officials telling them their systems were down.

“And we were able to get contact with AT&T to get our 911s rolled over to Warrick County so they could call us with the emergencies to get out,” said Coordinator Jody Meeks.

This isn’t the first time lightning struck Spencer County Dispatch.

“We did have a lightning strike in 2010, which had done the same thing, took out our radios,” said Meeks.

A backup system came in handy nine-years later.

“That’s what made us maintain those radios in the room even though we were not utilizing them,” said Meeks.

With the insurance company still inspecting the damage dispatch had to move their operations inside a Vanderburgh County mobile unit. This movable operations unit is two times smaller than what they are used to but thankful to have.

“We were able and lucky enough to get all the wires and everything hooked up we’ve got our phone lines our radios,” Meeks said.

Until it’s time to move back into the building dispatchers will continue to respond to emergencies and serve the community.

“I can’t physically be there for them which really sucks, but its good when get those ones we can actually really help,” explained Bittel.

Spencer County Dispatch hopes to be back in their building with new equipment next month.

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