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Lightning Strike Starts Fire, Damages Sandy Hook Home



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UPDATE (Thursday, April 22, 11:30 am): This story has been updated to included comments from Sandy Hook Volunteer Fire & Rescue Chief Bill Halstead, and a note about the American Red Cross.

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A lightning strike during a brief but intense thunderstorm that passed through the region Wednesday afternoon caused a fire that damaged a private home, but did not injure anyone.

All five Newtown fire companies were dispatched to 26 Bradley Lane at 3:29 pm April 21, after being notified of a fire in the basement of that home. A teenager who was home at the time was able to leave the house and go to a neighbor’s.

A lightning strike hit a tree approximately ten yards from the dwelling. A trench could be seen leading from the base of the tree toward the southeastern corner of the garage. Large splinters of the tree were scattered on the ground around it.

The fire was centered in the garage of the 1½-story Cape style house. The online Assessor’s Database shows the owners of the 1,650 square foot home as Donald and Jacqueline Godbout. The homeowners returned to their home shortly after the fire started.

Sandy Hook Volunteer Fire & Rescue Chief Bill Halstead was the officer in command of the scene.

Halstead said Thursday morning that there was heavy damage to the garage. He did not think there was a basement under the garage, he added.

"The fire appears to have started in the garage," he told The Newtown Bee. "There was heavy damage to the garage, which will need to be rebuilt.

"There was smoke damage to the house also, and some water damage in the kitchen," Halstead added.

It took approximately 30 minutes for firefighters to extinguish the bulk of the fire. They remained on the scene for another hour to make sure any hotspots were out.

Halstead said 35-40 firefighters were at the scene Wednesday afternoon.

Fire Marshal Rich Frampton and Deputy Fire Marshal Steve Murphy were both on the scene. A Newtown Volunteer Ambulance Corps crew was also dispatched, per fire scene protocol. No injuries were reported.

A representative from JP Maguire responded while firefighters were still at the property. Eversource and Spectrum crews also responded to the area.

Water was shuttled to the scene on tankers from SHVFR, Botsford, and Hawleyville, as well as Stevenson.

Southbury sent a crew to cover Sandy Hook’s main station, and Brookfield Fire sent a crew to cover Hook & Ladder’s station.

"It was a great job holding the fire to the garage," Halstead said. "Outstanding job by all companies on the scene," he added, offering thanks to Brookfield, Southbury and Stepney for station coverage, and to Stevenson "for responding to the scene with two tankers."

The Connecticut chapter of the American Red Cross responded to help the family of three, providing "assistance to meet their immediate emergency needs," according to a Tweet Thursday morning by the state chapter.

Firefighters from multiple companies converged on 26 Bradley Lane late Wednesday afternoon, after a nearby lightning strike caused a fire within the Sandy Hook home. —Bee Photo, Hicks
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