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Somersworth firefighters respond to 3 lightning strikes

SOMERSWORTH — Local fire departments were busy as lightning struck three locations as thunderstorms passed through the area Thursday.

Firefighters responded at 2:41 p.m. to a report that lightning struck a multistory apartment building at 18 Walnut St. It is owned by Michael Zucino of Somersworth.

The first units to respond — a pumper — arrived within a minute and found smoke on the third floor.

At the same time, off-duty firefighters were recalled to respond to lightning strikes at 12 School St. and 99 Union St.
By 3:01 p.m., firefighters requested additional support along Walnut Street. Another pumper truck, an aerial ladder and a command unit responded.

Firefighters found charred surfaces in the attic, a burned out light in the rear corner and multiple electrical breakers tripped. To ensure the fire did not spread, firefighters removed plaster and lathe ceilings in both ends of the building because they were charred and showed increased heat signatures on thermal-imaging cameras.
Firefighters estimate about $8,000 damage occurred to the third-floor ceiling and attic framing system, the electrical system, exterior lighting, cabling and siding. No tenants were displaced, according to firefighters.
Firefighters were finished at Walnut Street at 4:46 p.m.

No damage was found at either of the other lightning strikes, and no one was injured, according to firefighters.

Several highly concentrated thunderstorm cells passed through the area, bringing scattered showers to the state Thursday, according to the National Weather Service.

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