Lightning strike, not wire thieves, caused damages to Steamboat preschool

Staff writerOctober 11, 2013 

A freak lightning strike — not wire thieves, as originally suspected — caused more than $5,000 in damage at the Steamboat Island Cooperative Preschool on Tuesday, a Thurston County sheriff’s sergeant confirmed Friday.

Alton Huckaby, president of the preschool, said an electrician who is also a member of the cooperative examined the preschool in the 6200 block of 41st Avenue Northwest on Wednesday and saw burn and singe marks on the roof that indicated a lightning strike. The strike split a 4-by-4 board on the school’s roof, he said.

The preschool’s electrical wiring was completely melted by the lightning strike, Huckaby said, giving an appearance that thieves might have been to blame.

“The wires disappeared because they completely melted,” he said.

The strike also caused an explosion that blew out the school’s doors, leaving an appearance that the interior had been ransacked, he said.

The 27 children who attend the preschool have been using a room at Griffin Elementary School since the lightning strike, Huckaby said. The strike occurred after children had left the building about 2 p.m. Tuesday.

“We’re very lucky that the school is not burned down,” Huckaby said.

The cooperative preschool, which celebrated its 40th anniversary last year, has insurance. But Huckaby said it may take two months to make repairs.

Huckaby said he hopes insurance will cover about two-thirds of the repairs, but he added that the school may have to raise funds to pay for the rest. Email steamboat cooppreschool@gmail.com for informaton on donating.

Jeremy Pawloski: 360-754-5445 jpawloski@theolympian.com

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