PERU, Ind. (WISH) – The Peru Fire Department is learning the hard way that lightning can in fact strike the same place twice. Since 2002, the fire house on Canal Street has been struck six times.
Fire Chief Chris Betzner says he doesn’t know why the building keeps getting struck, but the building is made of steel, the roof is steel, there’s a 100-foot tower out back and it’s situated just feet from the Wabash River.
It really became a problem in August when a strike caused $8,000 worth of damage.
“The lightning struck at the clear opposite end of the building 130 feet away, come through the attic of the building and kicked the main breaker on the panel which supplies the power to this building,” said Chief Betzner.
It knocked out the station’s radios, computers, security system, and sprinklers. And they keep finding problems.
On Thursday, they found the heating system in the bay isn’t working. To fix the problem, the city council approved $15,000 to better ground the building. Work includes digging trenches around the building and along the river. That way everything can be grounded in the building, including the radio tower.
“There’s no guarantees we won’t be struck by lightning again but our hope is it will go to ground instead of coming through the building and do any damage,” said Chief Betzner.
The chief said work should begin in the coming weeks. He said he’d like to have the work completed before the winter.
No one was hurt in any of these strikes.