Standish firefighter James Paul is doing well after his jolting encounter with lightning on Tuesday, according to Chief Martin Jordan.

“J.P. (Paul) was stunned like he got beaten up,” said Jordan, “but he’s expected to fully recover. He’s very, very lucky.”

The same lightning strike that flung Paul to the floor also knocked out the power supply to all the equipment in the central fire station, damaging or destroying all electronic devices including computers, the radio tower, and the circuit board, and leaving the station with virtually no connection to the outside world.

However, a day later, the station was almost back to its normal mode of operation and Chief Martin rates it at 98 percent. The equipment has all been replaced by loaners while the damage is being assessed.

“We’re back online with our own frequencies that we need,” said Martin. “We haven’t missed a beat.”

Martin is grateful for the efficient response of so many in the moments following the lightning strike. The Windham Fire Department sent firefighters to Saint Joseph’s College to cover the alarm that Standish had been preparing to answer. And Gorham supplied an engine to cover the Standish station.

“Our crews loaded up J.P. and transported him to the hospital,” said Martin, “and picked up a Gorham paramedic on the way.”

Paul still has no memory of the incident, according to Martin. He’s continuing to recuperate at home.

Chief Martin says their insurance company, Maine Municipal Association, is “right on top of things.” Although it may take several weeks to calculate the total amount in damages, Martin believes the figure could be as high as $20,000.

And he’s thankful it’s not more. When he went outside after the lightning hit, he expected to see the radio tower on fire and possibly the building, as well. But there was no fire; only the acrid smell of burnt electrical wiring.

Other areas of Standish were also affected by Tuesday’s storms. Many branches were down and residents reported a number of power surges and blown fuses.


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