Lightning Strike Sparks Minnesota Blaze

The two-story woodworking shop struck by lightning and fire Monday was considered a total loss on Tuesday, Virginia Fire Chief Darrell Knapper said.

The lightning strike blew the chimney apart, he said, and caused the fire which virtually destroyed the building. The roof had caved in but the walls were still standing Tuesday morning. The building was on the alley, just west of 216 12th St. S.

One firefighter was also transported to the Virginia Regional Medical Center with chest pain as Virginia and Mountain Iron firefighters battled the blaze. He was expected to be released later on Tuesday.

A damage estimate was not available, said Knapper, who was still waiting to talk to owner Elton Thayer of Virginia. The building had extensive fire damage on the second floor, he said, and water damage to the woodworking machinery on the lower level.

The Second Avenue loop off Highway 53 was shut down and electricity was cut to much of the block as firefighters fought the fire.

A total of five Virginia vehicles and 11 firefighters responded to the blaze. Mountain Iron firefighters also assisted, while the Eveleth Fire Department was put on standby for any additional fire calls in Virginia or Mountain Iron.

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