Lightning strikes Brooklin home, blows electric meter off wall

Posted Oct. 20, 2012, at 6:10 p.m.

BROOKLIN, Maine — A local house was struck by lightning early Saturday morning, giving the people inside a physical jolt and blowing the home’s electric meter clean off an exterior wall, according to the local fire chief.

Sam Friend, chief of the Brooklin Volunteer Fire Department, said neither of the two people who were sleeping in the house when the bolt struck received an electric shock or were injured otherwise. The house, owned by Helen Rundell, is located on Hale’s Hill Road off Route 172, he said.

Friend said the bolt of lightning hit a television antenna on the roof around 4 a.m. and traveled down the antenna wire into the house, where it melted the wire off the television set and then traveled through the power cord, down through the wall and into metal flashing on an attached greenhouse. The home’s electric meter was blown clean off the outside of the house, he said. Interior sheetrock on a first-floor wall was damaged and exterior shingles also were blown off the side of the house.

“It was the hardest lightning strike I’ve ever seen,” Friend said. “I would assume it would be a very scary experience.”

The chief said the occupants called the fire department and reported a fire in the walls of the home, but the only fire that actually resulted was a small one that the occupants put out themselves with a fire extinguisher. Still, about 30 firefighters from Brooklin, Blue Hill and Sedgwick were called out to make sure the flames were out, he said.

Friend said the lightning strike knocked out electrical power and telephone service to the house. The occupants used a cellphone to call the fire department, he added.

The house is insured and inhabitable, despite the extensive damage, according to the chief.

“They will probably have to have their electrical wiring looked at [throughout the house],” he said.

Follow BDN reporter Bill trotter on Twitter at @billtrotter.

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