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Thursday, August 17, 2006

Lightning Blows Up Tree, Damages 17 Homes In Florida

by Staff Writers
Miami (AFP) Aug 16, 2006
A lightning strike in the Florida city of Cape Coral caused a dead tree to explode in a massive blast that sent debris flying over a two-block radius and damaged 17 houses, the local fire department said Wednesday. "In 18 years with the fire department, I've never seen anything like that," Deputy Fire Chief Christopher Mikell told AFP.

He said the 12-meter (40-foot) pine tree was hit by lightning during a thunderstorm on Monday and exploded "almost like a bomb."

The tree had already been struck by lightning last year, apparently during a hurricane, causing decay that may have produced pockets of gases, said Mikell.

One person was lightly injured and treated on the spot, and 17 houses were damaged, "two to the point of being uninhabitable," said Mikell.

"Sections of the tree were found as far as 500 feet (150 meters) away. ... There was damage within two blocks of the location," he said.

Lightning kills more people in Florida than any other US state, with 85 deaths recorded in the 1995-2004 period.

"We see a lot of lightning damage. That's not unusual," said Mikell. "But I've never seen a blast effect like this."
Lightning Blows Up Tree, Damages 17 Homes In Florida


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