June 24, 2013

Lightning causes fires, injures two in Maine

A woman was injured at Point Sebago Resort, and a teen was struck inside his East Lebanon home. More storms could arrive this afternoon.

By Dennis Hoey dhoey@pressherald.com
Staff Writer

Lightning strikes set homes on fire in Gorham and Falmouth and injured two people after severe thunderstorms spewing hail and winds of more than 60 mph rolled through western and southern Maine on Sunday night.

More thunderstorms could move into southern Maine on Monday afternoon.

On Sunday, three people were thrown by a lightning strike that hit about 5:30 p.m. at the Point Sebago Resort and Campground on Sebago Lake in Casco. The resort is located off Route 302.

“They were watching the storm,” Sgt. Jim Estabrook of the Cumberland County Sheriff's Office said. “They all got launched airborne.”

Erin Ledoux, 25, of Nashua, N.H., and two friends, who had rented a lakeside cabin at the resort, were outside their cabin watching the thunderstorm pass through when a bolt of lightning struck a pine tree they were standing near, according to a news release issued by the sheriff’s office.

The force of the electrical charge hurled Ledoux onto nearby rocks and a concrete barrier. She was knocked unconscious and was pulled from the lake, police said.

Her friends, who had also been thrown through the air by the lightning bolt, did not need to be hospitalized. They were not identified.

Ledoux regained consciousness before she was taken by ambulance to Bridgton Hospital, where she was in stable condition Sunday night.

“Whenever there is a severe thunderstorm we clear the beach and the golf course,” said Point Sebago’s general manager, Don Toms. No other injuries were reported at the resort.

Toms said the pine tree that was struck by lightning was still standing.

In East Lebanon, a teenage boy was struck by lightning inside his home around 8:30 p.m. Assistant Rescue Chief Jason Cole said the boy’s family reported seeing a flash of light and a loud bang just before the boy was hit. The family said the lightning bolt went across a room.

Lebanon Rescue took the boy to Goodall Hospital in Sanford. His condition was not available late Sunday night.

In Gorham, Fire Chief Robert Lefebvre said the attic to an old farmhouse at 135 Brackett Road was engulfed in flames when fire crews arrived at the scene around 7 p.m.

The chief said lightning caused the fire, which was contained to the attic.

A man and woman who live in the house reported hearing a loud pop before they smelled smoke. Lefebvre said the couple were able to get out of the house safely.

Fire departments from seven towns helped fight the fire.

In Falmouth, another lightning strike set the attic of a home at 3 Remington Way on fire just after 7 p.m. Falmouth Fire Chief Howard Rice said there were no injuries and the fire was contained to the attic.

Bob Marine, a meteorologist with the National Weather Service in Gray, said wind gusts reached speeds of up to 59 mph in Yarmouth during the storm.

Hail fell throughout the region Sunday, with hailstones 1 inch in diameter reported in Windham. Marine said Monday’s forecast calls for more humidity and thunderstorms, with temperatures expected to reach 90 degrees. Another round of severe thunderstorms could move into southern Maine by Monday afternoon.
 
Dennis Hoey can be contacted at 791-6365 or at dhoey@pressherald.com

 

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