2020-09-02

Multiple reports of homes struck by lightning

by Keith Corcoran

Lightning brought on by severe thunderstorms in Lunenburg and Queens counties late night August 25 is believed responsible for strikes impacting at least three homes.

Volunteer firefighters in North Queens were summoned to a two-storey home in South Brookfield where the residence was hit during a period when Environment Canada issued a severe thunderstorm warning.

It's believed lightning met a utility line near the Echo Lodge Road home, travelled into the residence, and ignited a fire in the basement area.

One person was home at the time, and "she saw the house fill with smoke and called 911," North Queens fire chief Chris Wolfe told LighthouseNOW.

North Queens first responders were summoned at 10:20 p.m.

There was "minimal damage" as a result of a "smouldering fire," Wolfe said. The fire was extinguished within minutes, but the investigation, ventilation of the house, and other work at the scene took time. Fire crews cleared the scene around 1 a.m. on August 26. Volunteer emergency responders from Greenfield, Liverpool, and Hemford assisted North Queens at the property, which fronts the Medway River.

No one was hurt. There were also no immediate reports of injuries stemming from other house-hit-by-lightning alarms that sent emergency crews to addresses in North River and Lower Branch earlier.

New Germany volunteer firefighters were sent to North River Road at about 10 p.m. A caller from the address indicated some of the lights at the home were affected by the strike. Crews cleared the scene within an hour.

Emergency responders from the Northfield district fire department were dispatched at about 9:20 p.m. to a home off the Robar Road where a caller there believed the chimney was damaged by a lightning strike.

Environment Canada issued multiple severe thunderstorm warning alerts within a one-hour period, starting at 8:12 p.m.

"A cluster of strong thunderstorms is detected in the Kejimkujik Lake area, and another in the area northwest of Bridgewater," read the alert. "The motion is eastward at 30 km/h. Areas between Kejimkujik Park, North Brookfield and Bridgewater will be affected during the next hour."

"Heavy downpours are likely to cause flash floods and water pooling on roads. Intense lightning is likely with any thunderstorm that develops."

Another alert, sent just before 9 p.m., cautioned about a "cluster of strong thunderstorms is detected in the New Germany area." A half-hour later, another close group of thunderstorms were located near Chester Basin.

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