July 22, 2013 8:34 pm
Updated: July 23, 2013 6:43 am

Lightning strikes spark fires

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WINNIPEG – Alex Forrest, president of the United Firefighters of Winnipeg, says lightning started five fires during an intense thunderstorm on Sunday night.

An electrical surge that may have been caused by a lightning strike sparked a blaze on Sherburn Street, police said.

“There were at least two or three major wires that were arcing on the street,” Forrest said he was told by firefighters.

One firefighter was shocked and treated at the scene of the fire, which started shortly after 8 p.m.

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It caused $70,000 damage to the home at 608 Sherburn St., police said; $50,000 damage to the structure and $20,000 to the home’s contents.

Another lightning strike knocked down an inside wall in a three-story condominium building in Valley Gardens, Forrest said.

The lightning hit the roof of the building on Grey Street near Kimberly Avenue, Forrest said.

“If it would have been a wood construction, we would have had a major fire,” he said.

The residents were in the next room and were shocked to see the damage, he said.

The storm also caused scattered power outages across the city.

The biggest power outage was in River East, Manitoba Hydro spokesman Glen Schneider said, with approximately 550 customers in the Harbison Avenue and Chalmers Avenue area affected. Power was back on in that area at about 1:40 a.m., he said.

The West End also had an outage, with about 100 customers in the Burnell Street area affected, Schneider said.

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