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Lightning strikes Superior residence

Lightning struck an assisted living residence in the village of Superior this morning and started the home on fire. No injuries were reported. (Photo courtesy Sarah Haugen)1 / 2
Firefighters extinguish an attic fire at Harmony House II, 7613 John Ave., this morning. Lightning struck the assisted living residence at about 7:45 a.m., causing the fire. No injuries were reported. (Maria Lockwood)2 / 2

Lightning struck an assisted living residence in the village of Superior this morning and started the home on fire. No injuries were reported.

Staff members at Harmony House II were credited by law enforcement, family members and owner Sharon Kotter for their quick response in evacuating seven residents from the house.

“Kudos to the staff here, they did a wonderful, wonderful job,” said Detective John Parenteau with the Douglas County Sheriff’s Office.

Staff and residents hold evacuation drills monthly, Kotter said, although the state only requires drills every six months. That repetition truly helped when lightning struck, she said.

“All the residents got out, every single one,” said Erica Champaigne, whose grandfather lives at Harmony House II. “They all helped each other. It was awesome.”

One of the residents even pushed another’s wheelchair, they said.

They were temporarily relocated next door to Harmony House I for breakfast and a firefighter was able to bring one woman her dentures. By 9:30 a.m. firefighters had retrieved charts and medications from the building.

Kotter said that eight beds are on hold for the residents at Superior Rehabilitation Center — the seven who were evacuated and one who was slated to return from the hospital today.

Fire Department Battalion Chief Steven Edwards estimated damaage at $100,000. 

The fire was reported at about 7:47 a.m., according to Superior Fire Chief Steve Panger. The lightning strike started an electrical fire in the attic. While the kitchen area was damaged, he said, resident rooms were left in pretty good shape.

The call came right at shift change, Panger said, so the reserve rigs were quickly filled. The callbacks responded to a car fire and a few medical calls while crews battled the Harmony House fire.