HAVERHILL (CBS) — Some residents in Haverhill were rattled when they said lightning struck a smokestack at an apartment complex Sunday.
“I was by the window at the time. I saw a large bolt of lightning come down. It was so bright, it lit up the inside of our apartment a little bit. We heard a loud crack — it sounded like a gunshot,” said Michael Scully.
His family had a front-row seat to the action from their ninth-floor apartment at Hamel Mill Lofts.
“I heard a loud boom and me and my sister were like, what was that?” said seven-year-old Tommy Scully. “I felt, like, over-the-top scared.”
The smokestack belonged to Louis Hamel, the founder of a leather company in the city.
“We had to come right down and see. This has been in our family forever and it’s heartbreaking. I’m so sad,” said Tippy Missick, Hamel’s granddaughter. “When they turned it into condos, that was always going to stay and now it seems like it may have to come down.”
Rumble covered the nearby street.
“All it takes is a couple seconds at the wrong time, fate does things for various reasons,” said Fire Chief William Laliberty.
Hours later, the Haverhill Fire Department evacuated 100-150 residents as a precaution because they were unsure if the smokestack was still structurally sound. It is likely the owners will have to rip the structure down because repairs will be too costly.