COVENTRY — It was all hands on deck Monday night, as firefighters in Coventry responded amid a severe thunderstorm to three separate house fires.
At least two of the fires were sparked by lightning strikes, James Cady, chief of the Western Coventry Fire District, said Tuesday.
“Lightning strikes had knocked out our radio communications with Fire Alarm, so Fire Alarm was not able to dispatch any of the fire apparatus in Coventry,” Cady said.
Members of the Western Coventry Fire District happened to be training Monday evening when they received a cellphone call at around 6:30 p.m. from the Fire Alarm operator asking why there had been no response.
“That’s when we all realized there was a radio communications problem,” Cady continued.
Western Coventry firefighters split up to tackle two fires, one on Williams Crossing Road and another on Plainfield Pike. When crews arrived at the homes, each was an active fire scene.
The house on Williams Crossing Road had been struck by lightning on its roof, Cady said, adding that there was a fire in the attic when crews arrived.
Cady, who himself was part of the response to Williams Crossing Road, said crews finished battling those flames at around 11 p.m.
In addition to extensive roof damage to the home on Williams Crossing Road, there was also significant smoke damage throughout the attic and second floor. And in the process of dousing the blaze, Cady added, the home also sustained some water damage.
Still, it could have gone worse.
“We were able to extinguish the fire and pretty much stop it where it started,” he added.
Cady couldn’t speak Tuesday to the extent of the damage caused by the fire on Plainfield Pike, which broke out in the home’s basement.
Although the Western Coventry Fire District receives calls for lightning strikes “fairly frequently,” Cady said, it’s not often that they turn out to be active fires.
“It does happen, though, and in this case, they both turned out to be working fires,” he said, adding that a lot of cases involving lightning strikes result in things like melted wires.
The Western Coventry Fire District received help at both scenes Monday from several surrounding departments, including the Central Coventry and Hopkins Hill fire districts and the Anthony Fire Station.
Crews also responded from the Hianloland Fire Company, the Scituate Fire Department, the Foster Center Fire Company, and several Connecticut departments.
Cady lauded the responding departments for their work putting out the flames.
“I think all the crews worked very well together,” he added.
A third fire occurred Monday night at a house on Shady Valley Road.