The oldest restaurant in Lebanon got a lot of attention – albeit unwanted – Wednesday evening as storms rolled through Wilson County.
Several media outlets reported on websites and through social networking the Snow White Drive-In was struck by lightning and on fire. Those reports were inaccurate.
"I put it on Facebook that we were closed and next thing I knew our phone was ringing off the hook," said Billy Wyatt, owner of the 60-year-old landmark. People were asking if the place was on fire. I don't know how that got reported."
According to Wyatt, lightning apparently struck a nearby transformer and knocked out half the power to the restaurant. Unable to cook, Wyatt was forced to close early Wednesday.
“I’ve got three freezers still working out of eight,” Wyatt said shortly after thunderstorms pushed through the area. “I’ve been trying to call Middle Tennessee Electric to get them down here, but all their lines are tied up.”
According to Middle Tennessee Electric spokesperson Brad Gibson, about 1,700 customers were without power Wednesday night across Middle Tennessee, but he said Wilson County fared better than some.
“We’ve got a few outages in Wilson County, but it’s a small portion of that number,” Gibson said. “There aren’t a significant number of outages reported in Wilson County.”
However, one family didn’t fare as well as many in the storm.
“We had a house fire on Holloway road, just south of Lebanon, from a lightning strike,” said Wilson Emergency Management Agency director John Jewell. “I think they made a pretty good save on it,”
Jewell said the fire broke out about 2 p.m. at 780 Holloway Road. He said lightning hit a nearby tree and surged into the house. The fire damaged one bedroom, but no one was injured.