Weather Forecast


Lightning blamed for Monday shed fire in Castle Rock

A lightning strike during Monday morning's storm caused a fire that destroyed a Castle Rock shed and its contents.

The fire was reported around 2:30 a.m. by someone driving past the residence on Highway 3 and 263rd Street, Farmington fire chief Tim Pietsch said. The motorist stopped at the home and woke the resident inside. The motorist also had to call 911 because the home had lost phone service, presumably due to the storm, Pietsch said.

Water from the thunderstorm had pooled on the roadway, which made things a little tricky when it came to bringing fire trucks to the scene. However, the first trucks arrived within nine minutes of receiving the call.

"It been a long time since I've seen that much water," Pietsch said. "We had a couple rivers to get through out there."

The 20x12-foot, two-story shed was fully engulfed when firefighters arrived. Contents of the building included gas and oil cans, as well as antique collectibles.

Based on the contents, Farmington fire marshal John Powers estimates damage around $25,000; of that, $10,000 is allocated to the shed contents.

After checking with the National Weather Service, Powers confirmed the cause of the fire to be a lightning strike.

"They had lightning at the time," Powers said. "There was a tree that was hit by lightning right next to the shed so I'm pretty sure that's what we have.

"There's pretty much no other cause out there," he added.

The fire was under control by 3:15 a.m., and firefighters left the scene around 6 a.m.

Michelle Leonard

Michelle Leonard joined the Woodbury Bulletin staff in November, 2014, after 14 years covering news for the Bulletin's sister publication, the Farmington Rosemount Independent Town Pages.  Michelle earned her Bachelor of Science degree in Mass Communications: News-Editorial from Mankato State University in 1991. She is an active member of the American Legion Auxiliary Clifford Larson Unit 189 of Farmington, and served as the 2014-15 Third District President to the American Legion Auxiliary Department of Minnesota. Michelle is also the volunteer coordinator for the Minnesota Newspaper Museum which is open annually during the Minnesota State Fair. She has earned Minnesota Newspaper Association awards in Investigative Reporting, Local News Coverage, Feature Photography and Column Writing. 

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