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Update: Lightning strikes cause fires in Concord, Bow and Hooksett

  • Fire destroyed the steeple of the Crossroads Community Church in Bow on Tuesday, July 17, 2018. Elizabeth Frantz / Monitor staff

  • Firefighters respond to a church fire at Branch Londonderry Turnpike East in Bow on Tuesday, July 17, 2018. Elizabeth Frantz / Monitor staff

  • Firefighters respond to a church fire at Branch Londonderry Turnpike East in Bow on Tuesday, July 17, 2018. Elizabeth Frantz / Monitor staff

  • Firefighters respond to a church fire at Branch Londonderry Turnpike East in Bow on Tuesday, July 17, 2018. Elizabeth Frantz / Monitor staff

  • Firefighters respond to a church fire at Branch Londonderry Turnpike East in Bow on Tuesday, July 17, 2018. Elizabeth Frantz / Monitor staff

  • Firefighters respond to a church fire at Branch Londonderry Turnpike East in Bow on Tuesday, July 17, 2018. Elizabeth Frantz / Monitor staff



Monitor staff
Tuesday, July 17, 2018

A church steeple in Bow, an attic in Concord and the second floor of a Hooksett home were all set ablaze by lightning strikes during Tuesday afternoon’s severe thunderstorm.

While the fire in Bow destroyed the steeple of the Crossroads Community Church, the building itself remains largely intact except for some water damage, Bow fire Chief Mitchell Harrington said at the scene. The church at 6 Branch Londonderry Turnpike East is an active place of worship, although no one was inside at the time of the fire, he noted.

“I was the first one on scene, and there were flames shooting 50 feet out of the steeple,” Harrington said. “We had to do an aggressive exterior attack to knock down the fire.”

As crews battled the two-alarm fire, another was underway in neighboring Hooksett, where homeowners heard a lightning strike and came upon a second-floor bedroom ablaze, Hooksett fire Lt. Jeremy Doyle said by phone. The homeowners initially tried to use a fire extinguisher to put out the fire, but quickly realized it had spread too far, Doyle said.

Firefighters arrived at 4 Sandy Lane to heavy flames showing from the home’s second floor. Those inside the residence at the time of the lightning strike had made it out to safety.

Doyle said nearly simultaneous fire calls – the two came in about 1:40 p.m. – are a rare occurrence and posed a challenge for area departments.

“Bow fire was dispatched and ours was right behind it. It did shift our mutual aid more to the south,” Doyle said, noting that crews came from Candia and Raymond to help support Hooksett’s crew.

Tuesday afternoon also proved busy for the Concord Fire Department, which provided aid to Bow just after clearing the scene of a fire at 30 Columbus Ave.

“Having two multiple-alarm fires in two adjoining towns is unusual for us,” Andrus said of the blazes in Bow and Hooksett.

Less than an hour earlier, Concord firefighters responded to an attic fire, which started when lightning struck the roof of a house, Andrus said. That call came in at 12:49 p.m., and firefighters remained at the home for about an hour.

“There was a smoldering fire in the attic that was extinguished by two portable extinguishers,” Andrus said.

Damage to the home is estimated at $10,000, officials said.

(Liz Frantz contributed to this report. Alyssa Dandrea can be reached at 369-3319, adandrea@cmonitor.com or on Twitter @_ADandrea.)