Lightning Bolt Sends Man to Hospital, Sparks House Fire

(NECN: Nicole Jacobs, Lexington, Mass.) - It was a terrifying morning for people in Lexington, Mass. Wednesday.

A powerful lightning strike sparked a fire on one side of town. Two miles away, it sent a man to the hospital.

It hit around 8:30 a.m.

"It wasn't raining yet," said Lexington Fire Chief John Wilson. "We weren't anticipating it. It caught us all off guard."

There was no warning; there were no threatening clouds. It just happened

"My windows are to the back of me, and my office lit up blue," said Wilson. "We knew we'd had a close lightning strike."

Wilson says within minutes, the phone lines lit up.

"When we got the call for the house fire, we were reasonably certain that we had an actual fire," he said.

That was approximately four minutes after a medical call from the Lexington Golf Course on Hill Street, reporting someone had been struck by lightning.

"Worker at the golf course - he was actually working on an electric panel," said Wilson. "We surmise that a surge came through the panel and that's what got him."

He was not hit, but he felt what the chief describes as a tingle. He was conscious and alert when crews arrived.

He was taken to the hospital, treated and released.

A couple of miles away on Tufts Road, many homes shook, including the one that caught fire.

"The first thing I heard was just a loud bang, and then the house shook," said Allen Jin, who was inside the home. "When we opened the attic door, there was just fire everywhere."

The three people who were inside are all okay. The chief says the fire was contained to the attic, which was not directly hit.

"We surmise that an electrical circuit is what actually got hit," said Wilson.

The chief says that one strike affecting areas miles apart is not uncommon.

"You have the chain lightning, where the lightning splits and can hit multiple ground targets with one strike," he said. "That may be what happened."

It was an eventful day with no major injuries, fortunately.

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