Prominent historic Springfield home hit by lightning, catches fire

A prominent, nearly 100-year-old Springfield home was damaged by a fire after it was struck by lightning Tuesday morning.

The Petticrew House on East McCreight Avenue suffered $50,000 to $65,000 in damage, according to Brian Miller, Springfield Fire/Rescue Division assistant fire chief. But the fire was contained to the attic, he said.

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The house is owned by Opportunities for Individual Change of Clark County. It was gifted to the organization by Stanley Petticrew Jr., OIC Executive Director Mike Calabrese said.

He said a neighbor alerted the fire department, saving the nearly 100-year-old building.

“We’re happy it’s not a total waste,” Calabrese said.

The structure’s age may have saved it from being destroyed by the fire.

“It was old wood. It was hard wood,” he said, “and it took a long time for it to burn so it really minimized the amount of damage.”

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The Petticrew House is used by the OIC for meetings and events, Calabrese said. It is also available for other nonprofits to use.

Repairs will take at least two months to complete, Calabrese said. There has been no confirmation that the building can be used during the repairs.

“We’ll have to have the city inspectors in and make determinations on the safety of the electrical system and so forth,” he said.

Monday into early Tuesday morning was one of the busiest days for Springfield firefighters in years, Miller said.

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“We average close to 50 runs per day in a 24-hour cycle here and we had 77 runs reported in 24-hour cycle yesterday,” he said.

That accounts for about a 35 percent increase in calls, he said. Three structure fires, including the one at the Petticrew House, happened overnight.

“Lightning and storms set off power outages, down limbs and those kinds of problems,” he said.

While the area of damage is relatively small, Miller said the recent renovations made to the property are what drive up the cost of repairs.

Upgrades to the home since the nonprofit was given the property have cost about $140,000, the Springfield News-Sun previously reported.

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