WATERFORD — A lightning strike caused a “full-blown structure fire” on Lewis Pike Road on Wednesday night and different forms of mayhem were reported elsewhere.

Fire crews from four towns were at 75 Lewis Pike Road late Wednesday after a house was ignited by lightning, Waterford Fire Department Assistant Chief Tom Murch said. The owner, Stanley Blane, was out of the country, he said.

No one else was at the house and there were no injuries, he said.

The cape-style home was gutted and a car destroyed as well, Murch said. He estimated damage to the house at $150,000.

Assistant Chief Bill Haynes said a shed with a motorcycle inside was also burned in the blaze.

Dozens of firefighters from Waterford, Harrison, Bridgton and Otisfield fought the blaze, Murch said.

In Norway, fire crews were just finishing up at a different fire scene after a historic farmhouse burned at 6 Patch Mountain Road. Crews from a dozen towns were just mopping up when the fast-moving thunderstorm came barrelling through.

“We had hail, we had lightning and we were trying to fight a fire at the same time,” Norway fire Chief Dennis Yates said. “By that point, we had the fire under control. We got in our vehicles and waited it out.”

That fire, at the former Jonathan Swift House, killed a dog but the lone male inside escaped without injury.

Yates said when the storm first hit, it was loud and violent.

“The lightning was unbelievable,” the chief said. “I looked across Crockett Ridge and the lightning just seemed to hang there in the sky. It was unbelievable. Then it started to hail.”

Flooding was reported on Main Street in Norway, Yates said. There was another reported lightning strike at a home on Crockett Ridge, but that one turned out to be a false alarm.

“Unfortunately, they weren’t so lucky in Waterford,” Yates said. “They got a full-blown structure fire over there.”

Further details about the Waterford blaze were not immediately available as the firefighting effort continued late Wednesday night.

While firefighters were battling the blaze in that town, city and town crews just about everywhere were on the lookout for flooded roads.

A National Weather Service meteorologist said the string of storms lasted no more than two hours but dumped several inches in some areas.

Around Jay, nearly four inches of rain fell during the storm, according to meteorologist Mike Kistner. A little bit of hail was reported as well.

By 9 p.m., Kistner said, the bulk of the storms were moving out to sea, although a lingering storm was still dumping rain on the Paris area. By that hour, weather officials were only beginning to assess how many lightning strikes were recorded around the state.

“There was a lot of lightning out there,” Kistner said.

In Norway, Chief Yates had a similar thought.

“That,” he said, “was a lot of rain.”


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