Damage estimate for Polish Hill church struck by lightning: $40,000

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A historic Polish Hill church was one of several buildings struck by lightning as thunderstorms tore through Allegheny County this afternoon.

Pittsburgh firefighters responded to the Immaculate Heart of Mary Church on Brereton Street at about 5:30 p.m. after reports that the church's largest, central dome was smoking.

It is suspected that lightning hit the dome, deputy fire Chief Harry Scherer said.

Wednesday morning, the fire bureau estimated damage at about $40,000.

The fire was contained in a small section of the church, and some water damage occurred, he said.

One firefighter reported feeling overheated and was evaluated at the scene, Chief Scherer said. No other injuries were reported.

Frances Jakicic, 74, was sewing in her nearby home when she heard what sounded like a blown transformer.

"I went outside and there was smoke coming out of the bigger dome," she said, staring at the church.

Ms. Jakicic, a Polish Hill resident, was baptized in the church and has attended it since she was a child, as have her five children, she said.

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Lexi Belculfine: lbelculfine@post-gazette.com or 412-263-1878. Twitter: @LexiBelc. Jacob Axelrad: jaxelrad@post-gazette.com. Molly Born contributed. First Published July 17, 2013 12:00 AM


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