In the midst of this morning’s severe thunderstorm, lightning struck a small apartment building at 333 Barton Ave. and started a fire that was quickly contained by Evanston firefighters.

The lightning bolt reportedly struck the building’s chimney and roof about 10:40 a.m. and went down through the building to the ground.

Evanston Fire Chief Greg Klaiber says the lightning bolt blew up a television set that a woman was watching on the building’s third floor. Klaiber said the woman was shaken up, but appeared uninjured and didn’t need to be taken to the hospital.

Firefighters had to rip open portions of the roof to get at the fire and then checked the rest of the building with thermal imaging equipment to make sure the flames hadn’t spread.

Firefighters work to secure plastic sheeting over the area of the roof damaged by the fire.

Klaiber says that aside from the exploded television, the roof damage and some bricks blown out of the fireplace on the third floor, there appeared to be no other damage to the building.

Two fire engines, a ladder truck and an ambulance responded to the scene.

The chief said that he’d had no reports of power outages from this morning’s storm and that an outage early this morning on the city’s northeast side that was not weather-related had been fixed.

Bill Smith is the editor and publisher of Evanston Now.

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