Supplies were destroyed and computer and telephone services were knocked out to Northward Prison early Wednesday after a lightning strike that sparked a fire.

No one was hurt in the blaze.

Prison officials said the fire that resulted from the 1:30 a.m. lightning strike “consumed” the stores building at the Bodden Town facility, which is the Cayman Islands’ main prison for adult males.

Chief Fire Officer David Hails said the building, which houses food, bathroom supplies, uniforms and equipment, was fully engulfed in flames and sustained major damage from the lightning strike that hit the roof.

The fire was not completely extinguished until 4 a.m., Mr. Hails said.

“Additionally, all computer cables were located inside the burned building, so as a result all computer and phone services are currently down at Her Majesty’s Prison Northward,” a government statement on the fire noted.

Fire crews head in to the gutted storage building at Northward Prison early Wednesday. A lightning strike caused serious damage and sparked a fire that took two-and-a-half hours to extinguish.

“Fortunately, the lightning strike took place outside the main prison walls, so I am extremely relieved that no staff members or prisoners were injured during the incident,” Prisons Director Neil Lavis said. “The quick response of the fire service prevented what could have been a much bigger disaster.”

The storage building is outside the main security fence of the prison compound and no prisoners would have been in the area at the time the lightning bolt struck, officials said. As of late Wednesday, internet and phone connections to Northward were still being repaired.

“Her Majesty’s Cayman Islands Prison Service apologises for any inconvenience this may cause the public, and asks to please be patient as they restore access to the facility,” according to the government statement.

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1 COMMENT

  1. Basic lightning protection is covered in standard building techniques- a properly bonded and grounded structure is inherently lightning resistant from a lightning rod standpoint.

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