Lightning strikes

CALUMET TOWNSHIP – For the second time in two years the tower of the Keweenaw Heritage Center at St. Anne’s was struck by lightning, but this time the damage was significantly worse than before.

Keweenaw Heritage Center board member Rev. Robert Langseth said the tower was struck just before noon Sunday.

“It splintered wood and shingles and nails,” he said.

The building is located on the corner of Fifth Street and Scott Street. It is actually in Calumet Township and is owned by the township.

Langseth said debris from the strike landed on Fifth Street, but no one was struck and no one was in the building at the time of the strike.

The Calumet Township Fire Department was called by someone who witnessed the strike, but Langseth said there was no fire because it was raining at the time.

“Apparently, the rain was so heavy it prevented fire,” he said.

Keweenaw Heritage Center board Chairwoman Phyllis Locatelli said several board members, including herself, got to the building soon after the strike to do what they could to protect the building.

“We got the tarps down and (placed) buckets,” she said.

The strike was felt by people near St. Anne’s, Locatelli said.

“Places around there said they felt a shake when it hit,” she said.

Langseth said board members want to find a way to prevent future lightning strikes on the building.

“We’re going to pursue lightning eliminators,” he said. “We gotta do something to save that building.”

The lightning diversion system being considered is very expensive, however, Langseth said. Locatelli said the damage to the tower will be assessed today to determine the cost to repair it.

“The township does carry the insurance,” she said. “The damage is certainly much more extensive (than the damage caused by the May 2011 strike).”

Locatelli said there will be a benefit dance from 7 to 10 p.m. Friday at the lower level of St. Anne’s to help cover costs of repairing the tower of the building. A $5 donation will be requested for admission. Tax deductible donations can also be sent to the Keweenaw Heritage Center at St. Anne’s at 25880 Red Jacket Road, Calumet, MI 49913.