Lightning strikes fire station, restaurant

They say lightning never strikes twice in the same place but it struck twice in different parts of Clovis on Monday evening.

A Clovis fire station was damaged and lightning was also blamed for setting Red Lobster’s sign on fire.

Fire Chief Ray Westerman said the damage to Station 3 at Martin Luther King Jr. and Cesar Chavez boulevards was discovered around 7 a.m. Tuesday.

A heating and air conditioning unit, radio equipment, computer systems and more are inoperable. Westerman said staff was still conducting an inventory.

“The station has been there for 30 years (and) this is the first time I can recall this much damage,” he said. “We don’t know if the station had some kind of surge or if the lightning overcame the ground system.”

Westerman said the station is still operational and responding to calls.

Red Lobster’s exterior sign on North Prince Street was also affected by lightning early Tuesday morning, Westerman said.

Around 2 a.m., firefighters responded to a report of smoke at the restaurant and discovered the sign burning, he said.

The fire was quickly extinguished and there was no damage to the inside of the restaurant, Westerman said.