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Minimal damage in 'scary' lightning strike

May 7, 2014 - By Katie Roenigk, Staff Writer

A lightning strike April 26 may have been exciting for local residents, but the incident was relatively minor for the Riverton Volunteer Fire Department.

RVFD chief Mike Hutchison said crews spent 15-20 minutes dousing the 40-foot Colorado blue spruce that was hit by lightning at about 2 p.m. April 26 in the 900 block of Westridge Drive.

"The tree was fairly green and it was just kind of smoldering when we got there," he said April 29. "We just wet it down, that was about it. There wasn't much to it, really."

He was surprised the tree did not sustain more damage: According to homeowner Robert Willis, who reportedly was near the tree in the front yard at the time of the strike, Hutchison said the incident was "pretty scary."

Several firemen also were nearby and said they heard the lightning hit.

"It was a pretty instantaneous flash and boom, the way they described it," Hutchison said.

He confirmed that a bird was lying on the ground under the tree, though he did not know whether it died as a result of the lightning strike.

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