MINNEAPOLIS (WCCO) — Authorities say lightning strikes are likely the culprit for at least two fires in the Twin Cities Thursday night after heavy rain and storms rolled through the metro.
Firefighters said they saw a raging fire when they responded to the Mendakota Country Club in Mendota Heights overnight.
“We discovered we had flames through the roof primarily through an adjacent building to the main clubhouse,” said Scott Goldenstein, Mendota Heights assistant fire chief.
A suspected lightning strike may be to blame for burning the storage building to the ground, Goldstein said. The Mendota Heights Fire Department was assisted by three departments, and crews were able to save the main clubhouse. The building sustained exterior damage, and crews are currently drying out the inside.
“It’s sad, but it could have been so much worse. It could have been open. People could have been here. This is all doable; we were lucky,” said Krista Edsten, a member of the club.
A wedding scheduled for Saturday was moved to a nearby country club.
A Coon Rapids townhouse also caught fire following the severe weather, though no one was hurt.
The townhouse owner told officials he believed the roof was struck by lightning, but he didn’t identify any damage. Hours later, the building smelled of smoke and was evacuated.
Fearing another mudslide similar to one that closed West River Parkway in Minneapolis in 2014, the Minneapolis Park and Recreation Board closed a stretch of the road overnight. Engineers checked the landscape in the daylight, and said they were relieved.
“There has been some slight soil shifting that’s very limited that our engineer could see,” said Dawn Sommers, a member of the park and rec board. “If you look at the vegetation, the vegetation is still holding in intact so we’ll continue to monitor it.”
Barriers were placed along the road as a precaution and the road opened before rush hour on Friday.