Heavy storms cause needless headaches for first-responders in towns around the state. Des Moines fire-department spokesman Brian O’Keefe says they’re called out to false alarms when there’s a big electrical storm. Once the thunder and lightning arrive, he says you get some power surges, in a building or the electric line, and those will trip a fire alarm. The fire crews know that and while they respond, it’s nothing unusual to find nothing wrong, just a “trouble” condition on the alarm panel. It’s a different story with many built-in fire sprinkler systems, which have an alarm of their own. In many there’s an electric-powered air compressor that keeps the water pressure up, and after a few hours without power it’ll start to leak out. He says then they give a “flow alarm,” which is a more urgent kind of alarm for the responding fire department. “Those add onto the list over the course of a day.” This morning in Des Moines, the storm knocked down a tree limb that landed on a powerline, and O’Keefe says that call turned out to be the real thing. It ended up pulling a meter off the house, and caused a smoldering fire that became “free burning” and caused about fifteen-thousand dollars damage. Nobody was hurt in that fire. Twisters sighted in Louisa and Des Des Moines counties sparked tornado warnings there early in the afternoon. On the town square in Bloomfield, in Davis County, a building that had been vacant since a 1992 fire collapsed after an inch-and-a-half of rain fell in about fifteen minutes this morning.
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