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By Eric Weld   Date: 8/17/10 Bookmark and Share

Heads Up

Lightning Takes Out a Revered Tree in Mid-Campus

When a wild thunderstorm passed through town on Monday (Aug.16) afternoon, people around mid-campus were caught by surprise when a flash of lightning struck a tree right outside Wright Hall.

No one was hurt, but the lightning strike shattered a section of branches on the tree, a Cedar of Lebanon, sending pieces flying into Wright Hall, where construction workers were still on duty.

“We’re very lucky no one was outside in front of the building,” said Charlie Conant, project manager for the Wright Hall renovation in progress, who was inside the building on the second floor, where window spaces are still covered in plastic.

“The lightning bolt struck the tree about 50 feet from us,” he described. “When the tree exploded from the heat of the lightning strike, shards of tree and bark were shot through the plastic, hitting shelves and walls inside. One piece of tree hit with such force it knocked a hole in the exterior cement wall. As late as this morning workers were still finding pieces of wood and bark in offices on the opposite side of the second floor corridor."

Read more information on the Botanic Garden Web site.


The tree, which was split up the middle by the lightning strike, is being removed because it is no longer stable, said Michael Marcotrigiano, director of the Botanic Garden.


“The loss of this tree is deep because it is a rare tree to see in New England,” said Marcotrigiano.

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Flying shards and tree chunks pierced holes in the plastic covering over window spaces.


One tree chunk hit with such force it created a large hole in the exterior concrete wall.

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