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Lightning struck a Washburn Street apartment house during Wednesday night's rainstorm, causing $6,000 damage to the building and temporarily leaving its three occupants in the hands of the Red Cross, Assistant Fire Chief James Donner said.

The lightning bolt hit the rear, second-floor apartment at 218 Washburn St. occupied by Marion Sharp at 7:17 p.m., but did not start a fire, Donner said.

It did, however, knock a number of shakes off the outside wall and shorted out the electrical system inside the apartment, blowing out the television and a wall socket, triggering the circuit breakers for the apartment and causing the telephone to go dead, Donner said.

The strike also ruptured a water line between the two apartments, causing water to pour into the first floor apartment, Donner said.

Firefighters were forced to cut off the water and electricity in the building until repairs can be made. Ms. Sharp and Arthur and Patricia Luke were being assisted by the Red Cross, he said.

Donner said the lightning caused about $3,000 water damage, $2,000 electrical damage and $1,000 exterior damage.

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