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Lightning causes two fires in Wellesley

House, car dealer hit; no injuries

Email|Print|Single Page| Text size + By Gabrielle T. Dunn
Globe Correspondent / July 10, 2008

WELLESLEY - The town's Fire Department was stretched thin last night when lightning strikes ignited two blazes at the same time only blocks away from each other, a department spokesman said.

As a thunderstorm roared into the town around 7 p.m., lightning hit a house at 5 Wingate St., and fire broke out in the basement.

Deputy Fire Chief Rick DeLorie said one person was home at the time. A fire dispatcher advised the woman, who said she smelled smoke, to leave the house and wait for help. The woman was able to get out safely, carrying one of her two cats. DeLorie said the second cat is believed to have escaped.

The town assessor's website indicates that the house is owned by Linda K. Vaughan.

DeLorie said he did not know how much damage the fire caused but said the entire interior of the house was damaged by smoke. The occupants, who watched firefighters extinguish the blaze from their driveway, declined to comment.

Meanwhile, only four streets away, an air conditioner at a car dealership at 231 Linden St. was also hit by lightning, workers at Wellesley Volkswagen said. The fire was contained to a second-floor office, where sprinklers put it out before firefighters arrived.

Water did seep down from the upstairs office onto the first floor and into two ground-floor offices. No one was injured, and damage was undetermined last night.

But the scene did not seem to spoil the night's sales. As a cleaning crew dried the floors, a salesman showed two customers a white Volkswagen in the dealership's parking lot.

Pat Brown, a Wellesley Volkswagen spokesman, said the business had never been hit by lightning in his 10 years working there.

According to a meteorologist for the Taunton bureau of the National Weather Service, thunderstorms were overhead in Wellesley starting at 6:30 p.m.

DeLorie said the simultaneous fires forced the department to call in help from both the Newton and Needham fire departments.

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