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Lightning Strikes Connecticut House Twice
In One Day

Paraphrased by
Steve Waldrop
May 4, 2004

Thompson, CT.-- Fire Lt. Mike Rivers has been trained to have great respect for the dangers of a lightning bolt. And after his recent experience, he has an even greater realization of the power and danger of lightning.

Rivers, along with members of his West Thompson Fire Department and two other Thompson fire companies, responded to a call at 320 Reardon Road. The residents reported their house had been struck by lightning. A mother and her two children were inside the home at the time the lightning struck, but no one was injured.

"We had just pulled up and I was putting my air pack on when a second lightning bolt hit," said Rivers. "A truck from Community (North Grosvenordale) had just pulled up a few seconds before we did and their guys were getting ready to enter the house when the second lightning strike came."

Rivers said the lightning struck a utility pole near the home , traveled along the utility wires into the house and blew the electrical meter in the basement off the wall.

"It was like a brilliant white-blue flash of light," Rivers said. "When it hit, it sounded like a very loud explosion; the noise was incredible. Some of the firefighters tried to cover their ears to muffle the sound. I fully expected to turn around and see the house knocked right off its foundation."

"It's amazing nobody was injured," he said.

The crew from the Community Fire Company entered the house and quickly determined there was no fire, although there was a lot of smoke in the basement.

Rivers said the lightning traveled through the house, damaging some walls and knocking items on to the floor before exiting the opposite side of the house.

It then followed an outside underground electric line, slamming through a concrete patio or walkway and a concrete retaining wall that was several inches thick. The lightning dug a trench through the ground that was estimated to be approximately 2 1/2 feet wide by about 35 feet long. It then ricocheted off metal poles in a garden and finally grounded itself in an outdoor well house.

"As bad as the damage was inside, the outside damage was even more amazing," Rivers said. "We looked on the roof, and there were clumps of sod and chunks of concrete all over it. I've never seen anything like this."


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