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Lightning sets house ablaze in Bedford

Union Leader Correspondent

September 12. 2013 3:07PM
Firefighters put out a fire at 21 Reed Drive in Bedford on Thursday. The fire was caused by a lighting bolt that hit a tree and traveled underground along electrical wires. Bedford called in mutual aid, with Manchester, Amherst, Merrimack, New Boston and Merrimack responding. (SUSAN CLARK)

BEDFORD – Lightning hit a tree and traveled underground, setting a Reed Drive home ablaze Thursday.

Bedford called in mutual aid to fight the two-plus alarm fire at 21 Reed Drive at about noon. Manchester, Amherst, Merrimack, New Boston and Merrimack responded. It took about 30 minutes to control the fire.

"It appears to be a tree in the backyard that was struck by a lightning bolt and traveled underground to utility meters on the outside of the building. Lightning follows the roots and utility wires," said Fire Chief Scott Wiggin. "The fire spread to the owners' living space, into the garage and up through the attic."

Pointing to a nearby pool, Wiggin said the neighbor was lucky it did not follow that path. Wiggin could not place a value on the damage, but said, "It's not a total loss."

One Bedford firefighter was injured and transported to the hospital for observation, Wiggin said. He could not release the firefighter's name at the scene.

According to the online assessor's database, the semi-detached condo is owned by Robert and Karen Morris. The owners would not comment at the scene.

Patty Vilela of Kensington Lane heard a crack and saw white smoke and smelled a burning odor.

"My son Dylan (age 9) said, 'Look, Mom, smoke. We should get in the car over there to make sure everyone is OK."

Neighbor Dan Ugolini said he saw a white flash and a crack.

"I knew lightning had hit something," he said, adding his computer made a cracking noise. "It was definitely a power surge."

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