The rumbling of thunder started at just about 7 p.m. as a wall of dark clouds moved into the area. Once the lightning started the wind came up and blew the flag that flew outside of the Municipal center straight out.
In Newtown, other than the 5 percent of residents who suffered power outages that continued past midnight, nothing major was reported by the police department.
In Bethel, however, only minutes into the downpour, sounds of fire trucks filled the air. Down the street and around the corner from Greenwood Avenue, a shed had been struck by lightning and burst into flames.
Owner Michelle Peck described the moment she heard the loud BOOM! She was home with her children when they heard the noise, but the house seemed fine and the power stayed on. A few minutes later, when she looked in the backyard, her first thought was there was a sunset. She suddenly recognized the fire, called 911 and gathered up the kids and dog, and left the house.
Although the fire was outside, the event had shaken her up, and as tears rolled from her eyes, she said the entire event had truly frightened her and her children.
Assistant Fire Chief Scott Warner said this was the second shed this week that had been destroyed by lightning in Bethel.
At about the same time, along Rt 302 (at Linda Lane) heading towards Newtown, a large tree branch had brought down wires causing an electrical fire. Sgt Bruce Ross of the Bethel Police Department sat in his car at Rt 302 heading off traffic going towards Bethel. As he got out of the car, he asked, referring to the fact that the ground was electrified from the downed wires, "Can you feel it in your legs? The tingling?"
A CL&P worker said later, "If you can feel the tingling from downed wires, you are too close."
Approximately an hour later, CL&P workers were on the scene, grounding the wires, and then restringing them in the continuing rain. By midnight two-thirds of the 1,000 Bethel CL&P customers had their power restored.
According to Mitch Gross, CL&P spokesman, the storm hit Litchfield and Fairfield Counties the hardest. The bad news was that Bethel and Newtown saw extensive power outages. The good news, there were plenty of trucks to come quickly to their aid. The question remains why Newtown outages remained unrestored for so long.