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Lightning strikes keep W.Va. firefighters busy

July 24, 2002

SHEPHERDSTOWN, W.Va. - Lightning hit a utility pole just outside of Shepherdstown Tuesday evening and surged into a nearby home through telephone and electric lines, causing a small amount of damage.

A mother and her three children inside the house were not injured, said Shepherdstown Volunteer Fire Department Chief Leon Catrow.

When currents came in on the electric line, the cord of the family's dryer caught on fire, Catrow said. A wall was blackened and a piece of cloth, a small portion of the floor and the cord burned.

Damage was contained to the small laundry closet, Catrow said. Smoke detectors alerted the family to the fire.

The house is off W.Va. 45 east, just inside the Jefferson County line.

After turning off the electricity, firefighters found the source of the smoke and ventilated the house.

The emergency call came in at 5:22 p.m., and firefighters with Shepherdstown and Sharpsburg, Md., stayed on the scene until 6 p.m.

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- Lightning also struck two houses in Jefferson County when the thunderstorm passed through the area Tuesday afternoon, a fire official said.

Lightning struck a house at 218 N. West St., in Charles Town, W.Va., and knocked out electrical service to the house, said Donald Longerbeam, assistant chief of the Independent Fire Co.

The house is owned by Mary M. McDaniel, Longerbeam said.

On Cherry Meade Road in Summit Point, W.Va., lightning struck a house and caused a small fire beside the home, Longerbeam said.

The fire was extinguished by the homeowners, Longerbeam said.

The house is owned by Susan and Duane Burch, Longerbeam said.

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