CHARLESTOWN — Charlestown and Springfield fire and rescue units responded to a basement fire last night on Wheeler Rand Road in Charlestown which appeared to result from a lightning strike to the house.
“The lightning came through the living room,” said the owner, Lillian Bugby, watching the firefighters from the porch of her neighbor’s house across the street.
According to Bugby, she and her husband Dorhman Bugby were at home when a burst of lightning, sometime before 6 p.m., appeared to penetrate the window glass.
The lightning appeared to hit the backside of the house and the Bugbys went out to check for damage. Shortly after returning inside Bugby said she began to smell smoke and a scent resembling burning wire.
Dorham Bugby went to the basement to find it engulfed in flames.
“I couldn’t wait to get out of the house,” Lillian Bugby said.
Both the Bugbys were unhurt, though Lillian said she was shaken. She said she has seen several fires from the outside before, but experiencing one personally is entirely different.
Fire teams arrived on scene sometime after 6 p.m. By 7 p.m. firefighters had contained the fire and were monitoring the temperatures.
Charlestown Fire Chief Charles Baraly said that there was active fire at the backdoor to the basement when firefighters arrived.
“We ran two engine [hose] lines out back to the basement and a third line to the first floor,” Baraly said. “We were able to knock the fire down quickly.”
Charlestown’s ambulance team was also on site to provide first aid and rehab. Baraly said that dispatch also contacted Red Cross and that the North Walpole Fire Department was covering the Charlestown station.
A tanker was on site to provide water. Baraly said that there is no hydrant near the Bugbys’ location, though the tanker typically goes to fire calls regardless.
The inside of the house suffered smoke damage, and Baraly said that the Bugbys will likely be displaced for at least a night or longer, pending further investigation. The department also disconnected the house’s electrical power due to the basement fire.