WALLINGFORD, CT (WFSB) – Students at Choate Rosemary Hall in Wallingford were relocated Monday night after a dorm was struck by lightning.
It happened around 6:20 p.m. on Monday, sparking a fire at the Hill House dorm and dining hall building on campus.
At approximately 6:20 p.m. this evening, a severe band of thunderstorms moved quickly through campus. Hill House was struck by lightning. Wallingford Fore Dept is in scene. All students are safe— Choate Rosemary Hall (@goChoate) July 22, 2019
"Lightning strikes, we do have them in bigger buildings like that and when they do start, it’s very difficult, it's very labor intensive to get these fires under control," said Wallingford Fire Chief Joe Czentnar.
Chief Czentnar said those conditions made it challenging for crews to knock down the flames.
"The rain makes this slippery outside. We have a slate roof on this building. It’s a large building and a lot of void spaces. And everything starts becoming very slippery, the slate starts coming down from the fire, and the slate is very sharp," explained the Chief.
The fire was knocked down in less than an hour.
In a statement on Monday, the school said “All of our students are safe. Students residing in Hill House, and the adjoining Library, Hall, and West Wing buildings were evacuated to the Worthington Johnson Athletic Center. We are monitoring the situation closely and will be sending parents updates as soon as they become available.”
All students inside the building were moved to Worthington Johnson Athletic Center and were safe. Alternate housing for students impacted has been provided.
Choate Rosemary Hall is a private, co-educational, college-preparatory boarding school.