Lightning Strike Ignites Fishing Boat in Georgia, Vermont

The recreational boat was parked on land when strong thunderstorms rolled through

Bands of powerful thunderstorms rumbled across Vermont Wednesday, bringing heavy rain and lightning, and leaving some isolated damage in their wake.

"I turned the corner and saw the fire trucks and said, 'Oh no,'" Richard McGrath of Georgia, Vermont said, describing how he returned home to see the town's fire department parked outside his home.

McGrath's fishing boat became the victim of powerful thunderstorms. Firefighters said a lightning strike ignited the boat. It had been parked in McGrath's side yard, with fuel in it, from the winter. "I put it under the trees to keep it safe from snow," McGrath explained.

The Georgia Fire Department said it appears lightning struck a tree next to where the boat was stored, sparking a fire that then spread, engulfing the boat.

McGrath himself has been a volunteer on the fire service for 37 years. "It's too bad, but no one got hurt, and no other property got damaged, so it's ok," he said.

In neighboring Milton, bands of heavy rain lashed the town, along with lightning and thunder. The storm left high water in several parking lots and side roads along Route 7.

Fire departments know these summer storms can pop up fast, often in afternoons, keeping them on their toes.

"Typically, when thunderstorms go through, they certainly do create their issues, whether they be lightning strikes or wind damage... power lines down--all of which we get called for regularly," said Chief Keith Baker of the Georgia Fire Dept.

As for Richard McGrath, his summer plans just got changed with the destruction of his boat. "I'll fish from shore for a while," he told necn.

McGrath said he's grateful the storm didn't cause any damage to his home, his neighbors' property, or other parts of the neighborhood. He also praised his colleagues from the Georgia Fire Department for their swift response and hard work extinguishing the boat fire.

Contact Us