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Lightning Eyed As Possible Cause Of Several Area Fires

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By Steve Beck, Jenn Bernstein

SWARTHMORE, Pa. (CBS) — Lightning strikes are being eyed as possible causes of several fires around the region.

The Fire Marshal of Swarthmore Borough confirms a lightning strike hit a building on the campus of Swarthmore College Thursday morning.

The fire started at about 10 a.m. as a group of powerful thunderstorms rolled through the region.

Firefighters had to battle a fire it ignited on the third floor of the Women’s Resource Center.

“There was lots of flames shooting up from the roof,” said Lisa Coulter who lives on campus with her daughter Danielle.

“All of the sudden it was a big flash of lightning and then a big crash of thunder and it literally shook the floors of the house,” said Lisa.

Danielle took cell phone video of the dark billowing smoke shortly after, as firefighters worked quickly to get the fire under control.

“It looked like it was all coming out of one section probably the very top because it was a point,” said Danielle.

Luckily no one was in the building since it is summer break.

The Borough’s Fire Marshal determined after an investigation it was in fact lightning that hit the building.

He believes it struck the side of the roof on a metal downspout.

The Women’s Resource Center had a library on the third floor.

A college spokesperson said they are still assessing the damage.

In Delaware County, lightning apparently triggered a small house fire on Beechtree Drive in Broomall. And in Hainesport, New Jersey, a possible lightning-related fire along Craig Drive was placed under control.

The fires remain under investigation.