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Fire caused by lightning leaves family homeless, dozens without water in Sunapee

Union Leader Correspondent

May 23. 2014 10:56PM

SUNAPEE — A powerful lightning strike hit something near North Road Thursday afternoon, causing a devastating fire that left a family homeless and leaving dozens of residents without water.

The strike caused heavy damage in a small area of town, said Fire Chief Daniel Ruggles.

“I have never seen a lightning strike do so much damage,” Ruggles said.“They felt it in Town Hall. My deputy chief, who lives near North Road, had three pictures shake off of his wall. People didn’t know what was going on,” he said. It happened around noon Thursday. The National Weather Service confirmed that a few scattered but powerful storms moved through the Lake Sunapee area around mid-day.

A lightning strike hit somewhere near 107 North Road, starting a fire in the shed of an approximately 800 square-foot mobile home at the address, he said.

“Lots of people reported hearing a big boom,” Ruggles said.

Town firefighters and fire crews from Newbury, Newport and New London arrived at the scene and found the fire spreading from the shed to the home on the property, a distance of about 10 feet, he said.

The homeowner, who Ruggles did not identify, reported the fire.

“He said all the lights in the house lit up, and he looked over and saw his shed on fire,” Ruggles said.

The homeowner, who lived in the mobile home with his wife and two sons, left the home with his family as he was told by the fire department dispatcher, he said.Firefighters tried to save the home. “It was a very small home, and we were able to save many of their effects, which probably have smoke damage,” he said. “But we couldn’t save the home, it’s a total loss.”The family is being aided by the Red Cross, the chief said.

The lightning strike also knocked out a water main that provided water for 30 to 40 residents on or near North Road. Those residents were still without power Friday afternoon, Ruggles said.

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