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Lightning Strike Ignites Mount Saint Mary's University Chapel Bell Tower
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By Member Tim Clarke
July 20, 2013

On Friday, July 19, 2013, at approximately 8:42 pm, the Vigilant Hose Company was alerted for a reported structure fire at Mount Saint Mary's University in the area of the Chapel on the Terrace for smoke coming from the roof area. The alert came approximately 30 minutes after an intense lightning storm rolled through the area.

The first arriving units reported smoke coming from the Bell Tower of the Chapel and eventually fire was discovered at the top of the tower in the area of the roof. It took approximately 1 1/2 hours to bring the fire totally under control. The response reached two alarms with additional aerial units having to be dispatched to assist in controlling the blaze.

Damage to the structure is estimated to by approximately $600,000. The damage was contained to the Bell Tower structure itself and there was no damage to the main interior part of the Chapel which we are very pleased with.

The Vigilant Hose Company would like to express our utmost gratitude to all the mutual aid responding agencies that assisted us with this fire. The cooperative effort prevented what could have been a very extensive and devastating event. Thanks again and we could not have done this without your assistance which can always be counted on.

As photos become available more will be posted and I also anticipate some video being available in the near future

Chapel Bell Tower Damage
Chapel Bell Tower Damage

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Vigilant Hose Company Inc.
25 W. Main Street
Emmitsburg, MD 21727
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