The thunder storm that rolled through Bryan County Monday night reportedly caused major damage to the Sommers Shell gas station on Hwy. 17 in Richmond Hill, next to the T/A Truck Stop. Just after 7 p.m., heavy wind and rain caused the 100-foot canopy above the truck fueling stations to collapse, which also ripped up the diesel fuel pumps.
No injuries or damage to any customer vehicles was reported, which Sommers Vice President of operations Teresa Hrones said is a small miracle.
"We’re usually pretty busy around that time with an average of five diesel trucks fueling up. We’re just so grateful that no one was in the way when it collapsed," Hrones said. "We had a lot of severe rain and apparently a strong gust of wind came along which took the canopy down."
No gas was leaked from the accident. The store closed for business immediately following the collapse but reopened around 11 a.m. Tuesday. The diesel gas pumps, however, may be closed for about a month for repairs, according to Hrones. She said the regular gasoline pumps, located on the other side of the station, are on a totally separate system and the store itself was not damaged.
Hrones said the cost of the damage has yet to be assessed, but the property is insured.
The Sommers Shell Station has been in operation and locally owned by Jimmy and Jackie Sommers for 25 years. This is reportedly the first time something like this has occurred at the station.