Fair committee members were startled Tuesday evening when straight-line winds damaged several buildings at the Kiwanis Ogeechee Fairgrounds on Highway 67 South.
Statesboro Kiwanis Club fair co-chairman Lisa Douglas Turner said the committee was meeting and involved in a webinar with a potential fair vendor when the rainfall started coming down heavily.
She said someone asked, “Is that the rain or wind?” and fair co-chairman Danny Beall “spoke up and said, ‘That sounds almost like a train.’”
The members heard “stuff blowing around, hitting things, breaking in two,” she said.
The roof on the Kiwanis Pancake House, newly replaced, was ripped off, and a fence around the windmill and an outhouse near the Aldrich House were demolished. The roof of the general store was damaged as well, as was the syrup house, she said. The community building, where the fair committee was meeting, suffered a two-by-four through the roof over the kitchen area, and pieces of tin lodged in the top of the building.
Turner said repairs will begin soon, and she is certain club members and supportive community groups will assist in the damage cleanup.
Bulloch County Public Safety Director Ted Wynn said the National Weather Service determined the incident was not a tornado but a straight-line wind downburst, which can be “equally destructive.” There was no other damage reported in the county.
Herald reporter Holli Deal Saxon may be reached at (912) 489-9414.