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Charles City firefighter’s home damaged by lightning strike

To The Press

A veteran Charles City firefighter’s rural home was substantially damaged earlier this week when a lightning strike started a fire, according to a report from the Charles City Fire Department.

Fire Chief Eric Whipple said the Charles City FD was dispatched by a 911 call to a house fire at 2198 Old Highway Road, just southeast of Charles City, at a little before 4 a.m. Tuesday. The caller said lightning had struck the home.

“Upon arrival of the first engine, smoke and fire was visible from the roof of the home,” Whipple said. “An interior attack was attempted, but the fire was contained to the attic with difficult immediate access from the interior.

“A quick exterior attack of the fire commenced where the fire had broken through portions of the roof peak, and most of the fire was extinguished. Overhaul inside the home made it easier to find and extinguish hot spots as needed,” he said.

Occupants were home at the time of the lightning strike and fire, but both were able to escape without injury, and no injuries to firefighters were reported on scene, Whipple said.

The home is owned by Russell Bornstein, who is a 20-year veteran firefighter of the Charles City Fire Department, Whipple said.

The fire was mostly contained to the attic, with substantial smoke and water damage through the rest of the home. The cause of the fire was determined to be due to a direct lightning strike to the home just shortly before the 911 call for help was made.

All fire departments were back to their stations and back in service around 7:30 a.m.

The Charles City Fire Department responded with two engines, a tanker, and two command vehicles, with 10 firefighters. Additional firefighters for manpower and several pieces of equipment arrived through mutual aid.

Assisting the Charles City Fire Department were AMR Ambulance, Floyd County Sheriff’s Office, Floyd Fire Department, Colwell Fire Department, Nashua Fire Department, Floyd County Search and Rescue, Floyd County EMA, American Red Cross, Floyd County Dispatch Center and MidAmerican Energy.

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