Lightning Forces Residents Out | Suffolk County Electronic Protection

Lighting, wind and rain from Tuesday night’s storms are still causing a storm of frustrations for some people who live in Sioux Falls.

One bolt of lightning blasted through the roof of a condominium building, starting a fire in a stairwell that quickly spread to two nearby condos. Residents were evacuated from the building as firefighters worked to get the flames under control.

But tonight, everyone who lives in that Georgetown on the River building is dealing with a new problem; there’s no power.

The power was cut off to the entire building Wednesday afternoon because an electrician needs to check if the lightning strike damaged any of the wiring in other condos. And until that’s finished, everyone who lives in the building is being forced to either live without electricity or find somewhere else to stay.

Wednesday night, Ida Stelzer came home from work the same way she does almost every day. Except this time, she had to use a flashlight to find her way down the hallway to her front door.

“I thought we’d be moving back in today, or be able to stay here tonight,” she said.

A blue tarp is covering the roof where lighting struck the Stelzer’s condo building last night. Other than the smell of smoke in the air, their apartment wasn’t damaged by fire. But the couple didn’t expect the power to be turned off, so after a few minutes at home the Stelzers were moving out for the second night in a row.

“No, we can’t stay here with the power off, its better to go I think,” Stelzer said.

They’re just one of more than 20 condo owners who came home to Georgetown on the River to find a sign warning them the power could be off for several days. The outage left many people turning to the Red Cross for help. They filed out paperwork in the parking lot to get assistance paying for hotel rooms and meals.

“That’s it, you can’t do much it just seems to be its better to stay somewhere else and come back tomorrow,” Stelzer said.

After a visit with the Red Cross, the Ida and her husband had a place to stay and some money for food. There wasn’t much else to do but leave, with hope that the place they call home will soon get put back together.

“I’m anxious to get back in,” she said.

The power company will go through each condo to check and make sure the electrical systems are still safe. After they check each unit, they should be able to turn the power to that condo back on.