Lightning strikes again, causing fire at condo complex

August 15, 2008|By Richard Irwin

For the second time in two years, lightning struck a Perry Hall condominium complex, causing a fire last night that forced several residents from their homes, a spokesman for the county Fire Department said.

One firefighter was slightly injured and was treated at an area hospital, said Director Glenn Blackwell, the spokesman. No residents were hurt.

As a storm passed over the Chapel Hill Condominiums about 7 p.m., lightning struck 20 Juliet Lane, punching a large hole in the roof of the third-floor dwelling of Al Hammen, vice president of the condo association.

"The sound was extremely loud, and I first thought another building was hit until I smelled smoke," he said. Hammen said he was assisting other residents from the12-unit building when the first of more than a dozen pieces of fire apparatus from at least 10 stations arrived.

Hammen said two years ago, lightning struck the roof of 15 Juliet Lane, also causing a fire.

Firefighters from Kingsville, near the fire scene, said they heard the lightning strike. Blackwell said the first alarm was sounded at 6:44 p.m. and that within 10 minutes, the second alarm was sounded.

"I was sitting on my sofa watching TV when all of a sudden there was a very loud cracking sound," said Lori Robinson, 54, a plumber for the county schools.

Hammen said he was going to suggest to his county councilman and the Fire Department to have lightning rods placed on the roofs of the condos. "Twice in two years is more than enough," he said.

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