GREAT WASS ISLAND — A lightning strike early Thursday morning destroyed a large seasonal home owned by the Pellegrini family of Holden.
The fire was reported at about 5 a.m. when a local lobsterman spotted the blaze from the sea while he was pulling his traps. The home was owned by Dr. Joan Pellegrini, a trauma surgeon from Holden. She said Thursday that about 14 people, including relatives from Alaska, had been on the island during the day Wednesday for a family graduation ceremony and lobster feed. Everyone left in the evening.
Pellegrini, who returned to the scene Thursday morning, said lightning struck a large tree at the front of the seaside home on Carver Industry Road during a raging thunderstorm early Thursday. Its force not only exploded the tree, but dug a trench through the soil into the home. Pellegrini said the home, built in 2006, is a total loss and the family is insured.
“The only thing that survived was the captain’s bell on the deck,” she said.
Pellegrini said she is also a stained glass artist and was particularly saddened over the loss of a window depicting blue herons that was constructed of more than 500 separate pieces of glass. Dozens of her other artworks were also lost.
Six departments responded to the fire because of fears it would spread up-island due to high winds. Jonesport, Beals, Jonesboro, Addison, Columbia, and Columbia Falls Fire Departments came, as well as Moosabec Ambulance. No one was at home and no one was injured.
Pellegrini said the home held many fond memories. “We will definitely rebuild,” she said. She said she is a bit shellshocked after viewing the destruction Thursday morning, but wanted to praise the local firefighters and people of Beals and Great Wass Islands.
“They were amazing. Imagine all those firefighters scrambling out of bed at 5:30 in the morning,” she said. “People offered us rooms to stay in for the summer while we rebuild. Someone at the scene gave me their coat. Everyone has been incredibly caring and generous.”