Lightning strike blamed for gas leak and fire in Rochester (with photos)

There was damage to the home and no injuries were reported.

Posted: Apr 11, 2019 8:19 AM
Updated: Apr 11, 2019 1:08 PM

ROCHESTER, Minn. – A lightning strike toppled a tree Thursday morning.

The Rochester Fire Department was called to the 200 block of Northview Lane around 7:44 am and found a tree fallen onto a house and a fire near the base of the tree. Firefighters investigated and discovered the fire was being fed by a ruptured natural gas line.

Because there was no risk to the public, the fire was allowed to burn until Minnesota Energy Resources officials arrived to shut off the flow of gas. The Fire Department says that allowed firefighters to know where the gas leak was and to prevent flammable gas from building up, creating additional risk.

Gas had to be shut off to several homes and air quality checks were performed inside the affected home and neighboring homes. A damaged window was also covered with temporary plastic sheeting to keep the weather out.

No injuries were reported and about $10,000 in damage was done, but firefighters say the affected home is structurally intact and livable.

Rochester Public Utilities and Gold Cross Ambulance assisted at the scene.

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