June 25, 2018
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Lightning ignites two house fires in Falmouth

By Will Graff, The Forecaster

FALMOUTH, Maine — Separate lightning strikes led to fires at two homes Sunday night as a massive thunderstorm pummeled southern and western Maine.

“We were right in the middle of some nasty thunderstorms,” said Fire Chief Howard Rice Jr. “I’m surprised there were only two (strikes).”

The first strike set a Remington Way home’s attic ablaze.

The homeowners reported seeing a flash and hearing what appeared to be lightning striking their house at about 7 p.m., Rice said.

All four people in the house escaped uninjured.

Firefighters found smoke pouring out of the eaves of the home, but were able to quickly put out the fire, the chief said.

The strike hit the rear of the house, blew an electrical circuit, and ignited the home’s rafters, Rice said. Efforts to put out the fire left a hole in the roof for ventilation and water damage to a couple of the rooms on the main floor, he said.

A section of Gray Road was closed for about 90 minutes as crews cleared the scene, but was reopened before 9 p.m. Crews from Cumberland had just finished clearing a nearby car crash and were first on the scene.

The second strike occurred at about 10:30 p.m. at a home on lower Route 1, the chief said.

“We had just put the trucks away and were filling out paperwork for the other fire when we got the call,” he said.

The electrical force from the lightning sparked some wiring in the front corner of the house and started a small ceiling fire. When crews arrived, the ceiling was smoldering, Rice said, but the fire was quickly extinguished.

No injuries were reported.


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