Lightning suspected in two fires

2012-08-06T14:45:00Z 2012-08-06T23:59:04Z Lightning suspected in two firesTimes Staff
August 06, 2012 2:45 pm  • 

VALPARAISO | Lightning strikes from a severe thunderstorm that rolled through the region Saturday night may be to blame in two structure fires.

According to Valparaiso police, about 5 p.m. Saturday, an officer spotted a large plume of smoke south of the Valparaiso Police Department, just after hearing a loud lightning strike.

Officers followed the smoke and said they found a portion of the Doelling Decorating Center building, 753 Washington St., engulfed in flames.

Valparaiso firefighters extinguished the blaze, which police said caused more than $50,000 in damage.

The cause of the fire remains under investigation.

Some three hours later, police and fire crews responded to another fire in the 400 block of Hayes Leonard Road.

Police said flames were coming from the roof of a red barn on the east side of the road.

Fire crews were able to extinguish the fire, which police said may have been caused by a bolt of lightning striking the structure's roof.

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