HOLT, Fla., July 1, 2020—Holt’s volunteer firefighters earned their pay today as they responded to multiple calls during a severe early evening thunderstorm.
The National Weather Service in Mobile issued a severe thunderstorm warning for the area that included gusts up to 60 mph and the possibility of penny-sized hail.
The storms, accompanied by frequent lightning that caused scattered power outages in the Holt area, dumped 2 inches of rain here in less than an hour.
During that time, eight Holt Fire District firefighters and five various fire vehicles responded to seven calls within a four-hour period.
The first call Holt Fire responded to came a couple of hours before the storm hit the area.
An accident on Interstate 10 at the Wilkerson Bluff Road overpass involved a pickup that rear-ended a semi-tractor trailer around 4 p.m. No one was injured in the accident.
Then, just as the storm began raging through the area at 5:52 p.m., a call went out about a single-car accident on Southside Drive in Holt.
It’s not certain what caused the driver to lose control of her car, but when Holt firefighters responded, they found the car in the road with a crumpled front end. Again, no one was hurt.
That call was followed at 6:07 p.m. for another single-car accident on U.S. 90 and Wilkerson Bluff Road. A pickup with two people apparently hydroplaned and hit a tree. The driver was transported to the hospital.
Less than 30 minutes later, a call went out at 6:25 p.m. for storm damage in Holt.
What may have been a tornado stripped the shingles off a house on the north side of Summertime Drive and split a large oak tree that fell across the road, blocking it.
At the same time, another large oak tree was also split. Limbs pulled down a power line leaving a live wire on the south side of Summertime Drive with half the tree also blocking the road.
The Florida Wildlife Commission, the Okaloosa County Sheriff’s Office and Holt Water Works Inc. also responded to the storm damage alert.
Holt firefighters had hardly begun to help the homeowners, neighbors, FWC and Holt Water clear the tree on the north side of Summertime Drive before more alerts went out.
Smoke was reported in a home on Wilkerson Bluff Road at 6:57 p.m. No fire was found.
At 7:45 p.m., Holt firefighters responded to a mutual aid request to house fire on Lena Street in Baker. Baker Fire District was lead for that response.
Finally, at 8:04 p.m., another downed tree was reported on Broxson Road in Holt. The tree was close to a power pole and residents there were concerned the tree might bring the wires or pole down.
- 4:01 p.m. Accident on I-10 at Wilkerson Bluff, pickup rear-ended a semi, no injuries
- 5:52 p.m. Single-car accident on Southside Drive in Holt, no injuries
- 6:07 p.m. Single-car accident at Wilkerson Bluff and Hwy 90, one injury
- 6:25 p.m. Power line down on Summertime Drive in Holt with a tree across the road
- 6:25 p.m. Possible tornado damage to a home and tree across the road on Summertime Drive
- 6:57 p.m. Smoke reported in a home on Wilkerson Bluff, no fire
- 7:46 p.m. House fire on Lena Road in Baker, mutual aid call to assist Baker Fire
- 8:04 p.m. Another tree down close to a power pole on Broxson Road in Holt