Lightning strikes Eastlake Police building, 911 calls temporarily rerouted to Willoughby

Posted at 6:58 PM, Aug 04, 2017
and last updated 2017-08-04 18:58:52-04

The storms rolling through Northeast Ohio on Friday knocked out power to thousands of homes, businesses and even the Eastlake Police Station.

Lightning struck an antenna on the police building, cutting lines of communication, including 911 and radio signals.

The Eastlake Police and Fire buildings are located right next to each other. Fire Chief Ted Whittington says the officers inside heard a loud boom, and the whole building was shaking.

“The antenna was directly hit,” said Whittington, “[The explosion] left thousands of pieces all over the property. The rafters, the aluminum parts of the garage, they heard sparks flying, across the front pad.”

Across the street from the police and fire department, toys and pieces of a playground could be seen flipped over at the Agapeland Daycare.

Teacher Brianna Overly said the children were in tears after hearing the loud noises.

“It was nerve-racking at first. We didn't know what happened,” said Overly, “We just tried to teach the kids that it's ok, we're going to keep you safe, nothing’s going to happen. We were just telling them, if the power goes out, you don't need to scream.”

The police department is currently rerouting their 911 phone calls to Willoughby.

“We lost our telephones, we lost our 911, we lost a radio that we communicate with each other to the fire departments to police departments,” said Whittington.

The seven-digit non-emergency numbers for Eastlake Police and Fire are still not working.

Here are the temporary non-emergency numbers:

Eastlake Police: 440-343-1592 or 913-717-2694

Eastlake Fire: 440-343-5627