FORT WAYNE, Ind. (WANE) Several fires in the Fort Wayne area are being blamed on lightning.
The Southwest Fire District assisted the Arcola Fire Department and the Aboite Township Fire Department fighting three fires early Tuesday within 40 minutes, and an official with the Southwest Fire District said each was caused by lightning.
Around 7:15 a.m., a fire was reportedly at a home inside the Chestnut Hills neighborhood. The home sustained minor damage.
Then, around 7:40 a.m., a barn caught fire in the 15000 block of Bass Road. With some 7,000 bales of hay inside, the barn suffered heavy damage and a firefighter was taken to a hospital iwth a leg injury.
Finally, just before 8 a.m., a fire was reported at a home within the Bridgewater addition off Illinois Road. It sustained minor damage.
Farther north, the Fort Wayne Fire Department fought a fire at the Canterbury Green Apartments complex for more than an hour. While a fire department spokesman would not confirm lightning caused the blaze that badly damaged a 22-unit building, a battalion chief told NewsChannel 15 he believed lightning struck the building and that investigations were just trying to determine where.
Around the same time, a piece of equipment at Glenbrook Mall was struck by lightning which killed power to the property, a mall representative told NewsChannel 15. While it did not spark a fire, the mall was closed for just more than an hour until power was restored.
Nicholas Ferreri, NewsChannel 15’s Chief Meteorologist, said Tuesday morning’s event wasn’t especially more lightning-charged than another, but it was likely the way the system stayed and swirled over the Fort Wayne area that led to the multiple strikes. All told, the National Weather Service reported 378 lightning strikes during the weather event, which stretched from just after 7 a.m. until after noon.