Lightning strikes house

Alpena City Fire Department responded to reports of smoke around a chimney from a lightning strike at around 6:14 p.m. at 121 Hitchcock Street on Sunday. House owner Gay Fry and her dog Tara were sitting in her living room while Fry was talking to her brother in Texas on Skype and told him how loud the thunder was when suddenly lightning struck the house.

“I heard rocks falling down the chimney and slate roof and saw pieces of my chimney falling on my back deck,” Fry said. “It was so loud.”

Fry went outside and saw smoke coming from around the chimney through the slate roof, so she immediately called the fire department.

Fire Captain Bob Adrian said it was a good thing the homeowner was home and called the station.

“It looks like lightning hit at the chimney and followed a metal vent pipe down to the ground. We put the thermal imaging camera down the chimney to make sure there weren’t any hot spots,” Adrian said. “We had to cut a 4×4 foot hole to make sure there was no smoldering or embers in the cedar shakes. It is an older home and has some very dry wood.”

Fry has been living in her home for about three years and said she never thought anything like this would ever happen. Neighbors gathered to comfort her and view the damage from the strike.

Fire Chief Bill Forbush said the damage could have been a whole lot worse, and it was good that she called the department right away.

“Lightning strikes are very rare. It’s a good thing she called us before it got worse,” Forbush said.

Nicole Grulke can be reached via email at or by phone at 358-5687. Follow Nicole on Twitter @ng_alpenanews.