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Severe Storms Spark Lightning Fire In Queens, Bring Outages

Queens Lightning Strike, Fire

Severe thunderstorms Wednesday night brought lightning that struck this house in Queens, sparking a fire. (Credit: Holli Haerr/1010 WINS)

NEW YORK (CBSNewYork) — A round of severe thunderstorms cut power, and brought lightning that struck a home and caused a fire in Queens on Wednesday evening.

Severe thunderstorm warnings were issued throughout the evening for parts of the Tri-State Area, but all had expired as of 8:30 p.m.

Lightning struck a home in Queens, 1010 WINS confirmed. The roof and attic of the house at 33-39 159th St. caught fire, officials said. One woman was in the house at the time, but escaped safely as neighbors called 911.

“It’s interesting, because the lightning bolt, a lot of people saw hit, so we got many calls, so we were here right away,” said FDNY Battalion Chief Denis Chrichton.

Neighbors as far as two blocks away told 1010 WINS’ Holli Haerr they heard the boom.

Witness Oscar Choudhury, who lives across the street, said he first thought the lightning hit his yard.

“I tell you, in my life, I have never seen this way the lightning come down,” he said.

Another neighbor, Stavro Zipitas, said he heard the lightning strike and saw the smoke.

“I was inside my house having dinner, and I had my music system on, and suddenly, the music system was, ‘boom’ … was blasting. And I ran, and I said to my wife, ‘What happened? What happened?’ And I ran, and I shut the whole system off… and I came outside and I saw smoke coming out of the house,” he said.

The storms also left thousands of customers without power in the Tri-State Area.

As of 11 p.m., a total of 2,184 Jersey Central Power & Light customers were without power, most of them in Warren County, N.J.

Con Edison had fewer than 200 customers without power, most of them in Queens. Earlier, most of the reported outages had been in the Bronx.

But the most severe outages, and damage to electrical equipment, were reported by Public Service Enterprise Group, which supplies power to northern New Jersey.

The company reported wires down in Glen Rock and in Emerson along Kindekemack Road Wednesday evening. Power had been restored to those customers by 11 p.m.

In Leonia, a transformer caught fire on Grand Avenue and cut power to 2,400 customers, who remained in the dark as of 11 p.m.

Power was also out to 1,300 customers in Hawthorne as late as 11 p.m.

The storms will give way to a dramatic drop in temperature, with the high for Thursday topping out at just 57 degrees, CBS 2’s Lonnie Quinn reported.

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