Weather Forecast


Update: Monday morning fire caused by lightning strike

Firefighters stream water at the burning roof of the Ryan and Christine Nielsen home shortly after arriving there Monday morning.Photo by Randy Hanson1 / 2
Fire hoses direct water into the attic of the burning house. Photos by Randy Hanson2 / 2

A lightning strike Monday morning set fire to a town of Hudson house, resulting in major damage to the home.

A thunderstorm was passing through the area when Christine Nielsen heard the bang and saw cupboard doors of the home shake open, according to a Hudson Fire Department report.

Nielsen is said to have left the house and called 911 after smelling smoke.

Hudson Fire Chief Jim Frye said the initial call to the Ryan and Christine Nielsen residence came at 8:11 a.m. The newer two-story house with an attached three-car garage is located at 1028 Crescent Circle, off Tanney Lane east of Willow River State Park.

Frye said flames were showing through the roof of the house when the second page for fire departments went out.

The home is in an eastern area of the town of Hudson where both the Hudson and Roberts fire departments are dispatched to fires.

Flames were leaping from the roof of the house when firefighters arrived amidst rainfall and strong gusting winds.

Seven departments in all assisted in the firefighting effort.

The Roberts, St. Joseph and Lower St. Croix Valley departments sent crews and tankers to the scene. The Somerset and Hudson departments also provided tankers.

The River Falls department went to the Hudson station to stand by in case another fire call came in. The Hammond-Baldwin-Woodville department covered the Roberts station.

Frye said about 30,000 gallons of water were used to fight the fire. A tank engine holds between 2,000 and 3,000 gallons, he said, which would mean that 10 to 15 tank loads were brought to the scene.

The tankers were filled at a hydrant next to the Prairie View Center at Carmichael Road and County UU (Vine Street).

The fire burned the roof off the residence before it could be put out. Frye said the home also sustained heavy smoke and water damage.

He said firefighters covered as many of the Nielsen's possessions as they could to protect them from water damage.

The Nielsens were at the home later in the day gathering up items that could be salvaged, the fire chief said.

Frye said Christine Nielsen took refuge with a neighboring family during the fire.

He didn't know whether she was alone in the house when the lightning struck or if the Nielsens have children.

Firefighters were at the home for more than three hours. Frye said the flames were fanned by the strong wind.

Randy Hanson

Randy Hanson has reported for the Star-Observer since 1997. He came to Hudson after 11 years with the Inter-County Leader at Frederic, and eight years of teaching social studies. He’s a graduate of UW-Eau Claire.

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