A lightning strike during a passing thunderstorm on the evening of Tuesday, July 7 caused an apartment building fire in the city of Kiel which has displaced four residents.
According to Captain Kevin J. Voland of the Kiel Fire Department, at 6:11 p.m. the department was dispatched to 451 Clay St. for a report that heavy smoke and flames were visible. On the way to the scene, firefighters learned from dispatchers that all occupants were out of the building.
Mutual aid was requested from the New Holstein, St. Anna, Chilton, and Elkhart Lake fire departments.
Upon arrival of the first Kiel unit, flames were visible on two sides of the four-unit apartment building. An initial exterior attack was made to knock down the flames as crews made entry into the unit that had taken the direct hit of the lightning bolt. Voland said the flames were quickly knocked down on the interior.
The fire extended into the attic and caused extensive structural damage. The unit with the fire inside was unoccupied at the time and under renovation.
Also assisting at the scene were personnel from Kiel Ambulance, the Kiel Police Department, and New Holstein First Responders.