FARMINGTON — A lightning strike on Wednesday afternoon at Blueberry Hill Apartments at 145 North St. caused an estimated $75,000 to $100,000 in damage to one building containing four apartments, Farmington fire Deputy Chief Clyde Ross said Wednesday evening.

No one was injured, but 13 people were displaced and the American Red Cross was working to meet their needs, he said. Everyone was out of the building by the time firefighters rolled in.

The apartment fire was one of three fire calls during the lightning storm.

Ross said that initially Farmington firefighters were sent at 4:45 p.m. to investigate smoke at Walmart.

“So we were all headed to Walmart, and then we got the one for Blueberry Hill at 4:48 p.m.,” he said.

They broke off and headed for the apartment fire. He didn’t know what happened with the smoke investigation or who handled it.


Then, an all-out call was made, prompting 60 firefighters from departments in Farmington, Chesterville, Industry, Jay, New Vineyard, Temple, Wilton, New Sharon, Phillips and Strong to respond to North Road.

New Sharon firefighters staffed the Farmington station. Farmington police and NorthStar Ambulance also responded.

The first firefighters to arrive were met by heavy smoke. The fire was inside the crawl space and roof of the 2½-story building that housed apartment Nos. 16 through 19, prompting an interior attack.

“The guy in 16 said he heard a very loud bang and went out to investigate and he could see smoke coming from the building,” Ross said. “Another person said they saw flames.”

While they were fighting that fire and rooting it out in the roof and eaves using a thermal-imaging camera, a third fire call came in.

A group of firefighters broke off from the apartment fire to handle that call at 5:20 p.m. at Knowlton Corner Road across from H&R Block. However, that response was soon canceled when it was learned that it was a bonfire and not a structure fire, Ross said.


“It was a good-intent call,” he said.

Apartments 17, 18 and 19 had water and smoke damage, but apartment 18 had the worst damage, he said. He estimated damage at $75,000 to $100,000, not including personal belongings.

The apartment complex, managed by Buzz Davis, is insured and an adjuster will be out in the morning, Ross said.

He said fog, rain and lightning added to safety concerns because the lightning and thunder were so close together.

“It was very quick lightning followed immediately by thunder, so the lightning would hit and BANG! went the thunder, rattling the windows,” he said. “We’ve now had two big-boomer (storms) in the last two weeks.”

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