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Headlines from the past: Lightning bolt hits Coquitlam home

A weird weather system caused a lightning bolt to hit a Coquitlam house in June 1991. In a re-occurring Flashback Friday feature, the Tri-City News will recount stories from the publication over previous decades.
Lightning bolt hits Coquitlam house June 16, 1991.

Stories from Tri-City News headlines of decades past will be a reoccurring feature as the publication approaches its 40th anniversary in 2024.

Coquitlam residents might hope that lightning doesn't strike twice in one place after a shocking story from 32 years ago.

According to a Tri-City News report the week of June 16, 1991,  a "capricious storm" passed over southwest Coquitlam and "unleashed" a lightning bolt that smashed into a single family home.

The homeowner was apparently snoozing in his River Heights house when he was wakened by a sound like a huge firecracker.

"The house shook, and the electricity was gone, the telephone was gone," he said.

The bolt struck the furnace vent, shook the house and left a jagged hole in the wall of his mother’s bedroom as a "calling card."

"There was fire in the wall and I got a fire extinguisher and tried to put it out, but it kept starting again," the homeowner said. 

"I turned the power off, because I saw electric sparks."

The wall of his home had to be opened by firefighters to stop the fire from spreading.

His response, according to the Tri-City News, was a shrug. "What can you do?"

Damage to the home was estimated between $10,000 and $20,000.

Apparently lightning strikes are so rare that the River Heights mishap was the first that provincial inspector Dennis Lessard had encountered in his 19 years on the job.

"It is certainly quite rare, quite rare," he told Tri-City News at the time.

That month of June had seen some unstable weather, with a cold, low pressure zone that passed over the Tri-Cities on its way to northern Alberta, triggering thunderstorms when cold air hit warm air from the ground.

Among the files of the Tri-City News is coverage of Coquitlam, Port Coquitlam and Port Moody councils, local crime, local festivals and events similar to today's stories you'll find online and in print on Thursdays.

For a digital version of this week's paper, visit the Issuu website.

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