LEICESTER, MASS. (WHDH) – Communities across New England saw lightning and heard thunder Friday afternoon as severe weather swept through the region, causing first responders to spread themselves out as fires, flooded roads and downed trees were reported.
Towns like Leicester found themselves dealing with wild weather that created emergencies, including one at an apartment complex for seniors.
Those living at a Leicester Housing Authority property had to be evacuated Friday after what appeared to be a bolt of lightning
“All of a sudden, lightning came, whacked (the) smoke detector (in the unit), and the cover flew right off, and we both just ran,” one resident told 7NEWS. “I ran toward the door.”
Leicester Fire said within minutes, fire and smoke spread through the top floor hallway of the building.
“We found a fire, knocked the fire down, cut a hole in the roof to kinda let smoke out so we can get, let everything rise and figure out where things were,” said Leicester Fire Chief Michael Dupuis.
The affected complex houses dozens of seniors in the area. After being evacuated, ambulances transported many to a nearby senior center for the night, though officials believe it may be a couple of days before they can return to the property.
The scene in Leicester was just one of many across the state that called on local firefighters and EMTs.
In Watertown, crews battled a house fire on North Beacon Street that started during Friday’s storms, causing concern for crews as lightning continued to strike in the area as firefighters scaled the home to put out the flames.
In Wellesley, Dover Fire and other teams were tasked with putting out a fire where a bolt of lightning apparently struck a tree, causing it to burn from the inside out.
As the storms cleared later in the evening, officials told 7NEWS they were just glad to respond to so many calls with a skeleton crew.
“We were spread all over the place, and even the towns around us,” Dupuis said. “At this time, it’s tough to pull in resources from other towns because your doing the same thing.”
Leicester Fire noted that at the time of the investigation, it had not confirmed whether or not a lightning bolt was what caused the incident at the apartments.
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