Lightning cause of fire, electrocution in Prospect

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PROSPECT — Lightning struck at least twice in Prospect during Wednesday’s storm.

It sparked a fire that destroyed a mobile home on Sills Avenue and then a 23-year-old Waterbury man suffered an electric shock while working on a well pump in the basement of a home on Dogwood Avenue, fire officials said Thursday.

No one was injured in the fire at 155 Sills Ave., and Zachary Poveamo, an employee with Santoro’s Plumbing and Well Service in Prospect, was taken to Saint Mary’s Hospital in Waterbury, Fire Marshal Keith Griffin said.

Poveamo was listed in stable condition later Thursday, a hospital spokeswoman said.

Both calls occurred within minutes.

At 3 p.m. the Volunteer Fire Department of Prospect was dispatched to 19 Dogwood Drive, Griffin said. Poveamo was working in the basement of the house on the well pump when lightning struck.

It charged his hand and knocked him back three or four feet, he said. Griffin said the house didn’t sustain any damage.

Five minutes later, while firefighters and police were still at Dogwood Avenue, firefighters received a call for a mobile home fire at 155 Sills Ave., inside Harmony Acres off Cook Road. Bethany responded with an engine, and Cheshire sent an engine to the firehouse to cover any calls.

Lightning struck a tree that was next to the mobile home, and it traveled from branches that touched the top of the structure and went inside through the air conditioner, Griffin said. He said that’s the area where the fire seems to have started.

No one was inside the home, Griffin said. The homeowner, Kevin Matthews, 51, was at work, he said.

Griffin estimated the damage at $51,000.

Matthews stood outside his mobile home Thursday, talking on a phone. Windows were boarded up, and a charred couch sat just outside.

“It’s still shocking,” said Matthews, a Naugatuck native who has lived here for 10 years.

He said his neighbors have been wonderful. A neighbor called him at work about the fire, Matthews said.

The fire destroyed a lot of his family photos, he said. For now, he is staying with family.

Wednesday’s storm brought power outages to a few hundred homes, a downed tree with live wires on Clark Hill Road, and two downed trees with live wires on Bronson Road. Those roads were opened later Wednesday night, and power was restored by midnight, officials said.