Two Panola County employees struck by lightning

PANOLA COUNTY, Miss. —   A Panola County dispatcher is in the hospital and another just released after lightning struck both on the job.

“Lightning. Thunder. Then all off a sudden it hit the building,” said Rebecca Allen. “It was extremely loud.”

Allen was one of three employees in the dispatch building in Batesville when it was hit around 5 p.m. Monday.

“Radios went out.  Alarms went off,” said Allen. “My partner over there yelled, ‘It struck me!’ My partner back there said, ‘It came through my phone.'”

Allen’s coworkers went to the hospital, one with burns and the other for precautionary measures.

Both are expected to be okay.

Emergency Management Director Daniel Cole said the same can’t be said about the equipment.

Cole said up to $10,000 worth of new software and computers were damaged.

“We are still trying to get three radios back up,” said Cole. “We are working on a handheld radio right now.”

Monday night, AT&T and the county’s tech department fixed the phone lines and computers within a couple of hours. He said the emergency 911 lines were not affected. This wasn’t their first rodeo.

“The second time [lighting struck the building] in four years,” said Cole. “Last time we had a direct hit. This time it was an indirect hit, but it did cost us some equipment.”

While some call that bad luck, Allen said, “It could have been worse. It really could have been worse.”

Just minutes after the office got word their employees would be OK, a rainbow popped up over the building. A sign of good luck.