Lightning strikes Bellows Falls church


BELLOWS FALLS -- No one was injured when a lightning bolt apparently struck St. Charles Sacred Heart Church and dislodged some shingles during Thursday's storm.

Bellows Falls Deputy Fire Chief Steve Cenate told the Reformer his department received a call at around 6 p.m. and he responded to the scene with 11 firefighters. He said he saw multiple holes and some charring on the steeple from a lightning strike, though there was no fire. He said the church may have suffered some smoke damage as well.

His firefighters initially tried to gain access to the steeple but he was forced to call a ladder tower from the Springfield Fire Department. Cenate said five members of Springfield's department responded to the scene.

The Rev. Maria Lazar, the church's priest, did not return a call seeking comment Friday. But the Rev. Daniel White, moderator of the Curia at the Catholic Diocese of Burlington, told the Reformer a facilities director viewed the damage and believes a lightning bolt struck through the church's spire.

White said Lazar will have to hire someone to inspect the spire and help decide how to get to the damage, which will probably have to be reached via scaffolding or a crane. He mentioned the damage is most likely cosmetic.

"Praise be to God no one was hurt," White said.

The storm dumped plenty of rain in the village and Rockingham Highway Supervisor Mike Hindes had to call in some additional personnel to help check the more rural areas to look for damages. He said at approximately 4:30 p.m. Thursday his crew and some contractors had just finished sandbagging a spot of Brockway Mills Road to prevent water from getting underneath the asphalt that his crew had just paved in the morning. The contractors had been hired to rebuild the road.

Domenic Poli can be reached at, or 802-254-2311, ext. 277. You can follow him on Twitter @dpoli_reformer.


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