Lightning sets house ablaze

It has happened only twice in Luc Robillard’s 25-year career with the Montreal fire department.

Lightning struck the roof of a house on Netherwood Cres. in Hampstead and caused it to burst into flames about 7:30 p.m. Wednesday evening.

"It’s extremely rare for something like this to happen," said Robillard, an operations chief who responded to the call.

He was at a loss to explain why the house caught fire, but fortunately no one was injured as firefighters took about an hour and a half to put out the blaze.

No one was home when the blaze started, and three dogs that were trapped inside were rescued by firefighters.

A witness reported seeing a beautiful rainbow, just before the sky filled with black smoke.

The weather wreaked havoc in patches of Montreal Island yesterday.

While the downtown core received just a sprinkling of raid, there were hailstones in the city’s west end, and isolated thunderstorms across the city. To the south, there were tornado warnings near Rutland, Vt.

Hydro-QuÈbec reported power outages affecting 19,000 customers in Montreal at the peak of the foul weather, about 8 p.m.

Most of the blackouts were in Ahuntsic, where 10,000 households were in the dark. There were 4,800 customers withour power in LaSalle, and 2,200 in CÙte St. Luc and Notre Dame de Gr’ce.

A spokesperson for the utility said he didn’t know when electricity would be restored.

Another 9,500 customers in the eastern Plateau Mont Royal were also without power yesterday afternoon, but that wasn’t because of the weather.

There was a problem with a transformer at Hydro- QuÈbec’s de Lorimier Ave. substation. The outage affected CTV’s local 6 p.m. newscast, which was replaced by a national feed.

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