When Lightning Strikes
Has your building every been hit by lightning?
This past Sunday, while I was more concerned with getting another fruity radar image of a pending thunderstorm up on Hoboken411, my building was struck (it was the chimney on the roof). 10 feet from my head, in fact! Bricks from the chimney were found three buildings away.
Power got interrupted, fire alarms went off (really loud in fact), and electronic equipment went haywire.
At first, I thought it was just a regular cable wire surge, but once I realized there was more equipment damaged (and of course the neighbors telling me that our building was hit), it was more than just the cable.
However, I feel lucky, as my list of casualties was shorter than expected:
- Cable Modem (free replacement)
- Router ($40)
- Ethernet Port ($20)
- Sound Card ($30)
- DirecTV receiver (free replacement)
- 5.1 Speakers (not sure yet, ordered a $35 replacement part to see if that’ll solve the problem)
We called the Hoboken Fire Department (after checking to make sure there was no fire) to have them investigate the central fire alarm. They responded and professionally handled this non-emergency situation. They were unable to reset the alarm (needed repair) and shut the power off instead. They were kind enough to install battery-powered smoke detectors on each floor while we waited till the next day to have the system fixed. Great job, HFD!
Lesson learned: The next time I see what I presume to be a serious storm – UNPLUG valuable electronics! Even surge protectors can’t really help a very close lightning strike, even if your building/antenna is properly grounded.
Oh, here’s a fun YouTube video of a tree getting struck by lighting…