FARMINGTON — The property manager for Blueberry Hill Apartments met early Thursday morning with an electrician and insurance adjuster in an effort to help 13 fire victims get back into their homes.

After lightning struck one of five apartment buildings in the North Street complex just before 5 p.m. Wednesday, the tenants of four apartments, 13 people, were shut out of their homes.

“We’re looking at the roof and trying to get the power back on,” Byron “Buzz” Davis, owner of Riverbend Property Management of Farmington, said Thursday.

Riverbend manages the complex, which was built in 1984 for owner North Street Associates, he said. The complex has five buildings with 24 apartments.

Tenants in two apartments on the left side of the building may be able to get back in, he said. The Red Cross was called in Wednesday night to help with housing.

Davis was also trying to help tenants in the other two apartments find alternate housing while damage caused by the fire is cleared and the property is being repaired. The apartments, housing for families with young children, is valuable to the community, he said.

He couldn’t say when the work would be done.

Heavy rains last week swept through the parking area, almost reaching and flooding some buildings, he said.

A tenant of one of the apartments, who withheld his name, said his family was watching television when the late-afternoon storm started.

He had just told his young son that it was only a thunderstorm and everything would be OK when they heard a loud pop, he said.

The tenant went out and walked around the building. Everything seemed to be fine except for tiles on the roof which were out of place. He said he planned to tell Davis.

After going back into his home, a tenant from another building knocked on his door and told the family to get out because the building was on fire. That tenant had actually seen the lightning strike his building, he said.

Firefighters found smoke coming from the roof when they arrived, Lt. Tim “T.D” Hardy of Farmington Fire and Rescue said Thursday.

Most of the damage occurred in the roof and attic area, but two apartments received a lot of water damage, he said.

The firefighters were initially called for a lightning strike at Walmart on Route 2. While on route, they received the call for Blueberry Hill Apartments and turned back.

Lightning apparently struck a television in the entry of Walmart and short-circuited, causing smoke, Hardy said.

There were four calls within a short span of time as heavy rains continued in the Farmington area. 

Some trucks responded to a fire on Knowlton Corner Road, but that turned out to be a brush fire, Hardy said.

The department also received a call about an alarm at the Mallett School, which is just a few blocks from Blueberry Hill. They believe the alarm was also set off by the storm.

“It’s been a long time since we’ve had a fire caused by a lightning strike,” Hardy said. “Now there have been two within two to three weeks. It’s just the way it happens.”

A home on Morrison Hill Road was struck by lightning July 2.

Fortunately, the department had plenty of help on the calls. Mutual aid from Chesterville, Industry, Jay, New Vineyard, Strong, New Sharon, Wilton and Temple responded with help, he said.

There were no problems fighting the fire, he said.

The department did not have the names of the tenants involved as they normally deal with the property owner or manager, he said.

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