Kokomo Tribune; Kokomo, Indiana

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June 20, 2011

Lightning strikes Howard Masonic Temple

Kokomo — A lightning bolt left a smoking hole in the venerable Howard Masonic Temple’s chimney Monday, strewing pieces of brick over a 30-yard area.

No one was hurt, and the building didn’t catch fire when the bolt more or less exploded the chimney stack.

Kokomo firefighters responded within minutes, but didn’t have much to do, other than block off Taylor Street and the alley on the east side of the six-story temple.

Dave Trobaugh, president of the temple corporation board, said he expects insurance will pay for the damage.

Pioneer Restoration, Frankfort, will restore the chimney to look as it did before the lightning strike.

“We have to put it back up, because it’s on the [national] historic register,” Trobaugh said of the chimney.

The temple, finished in 1922, was solidly built, Trobaugh said. The chimney is composed of three layers of brick.

“They built everything solid back then,” he said.

Kokomo Fire Chief Pat O’Neill was at Fire Station No. 1 downtown when the lightning bolt hit around 11 a.m.

“I came out of my chair,” O’Neill said. “It was certainly loud.”

A passer-by saw lightning hit the chimney and reported it, O’Neill said.

“There was no resulting fire, or fire damage. It was strictly from the lightning,” he said.

• Scott Smith is a Kokomo Tribune staff writer. He may be reached at 765-454-8569 or via e-mail at scott.smith@kokomotribune.com

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