- BC Games
Three horses killed by lightning in Maple Ridge
Three horses were killed Thursday after being struck by lightning in Maple Ridge as a storm rumbled through Metro Vancouver.
The horses were huddled under a tree when a bolt of lightning hit them in the afternoon at a property near Dewdney Trunk Road and 246th Street in east Maple Ridge.
"No one actually saw it but a person who lived there said he saw a big bolt of lightning," said veterinarian Stephanie Jeanneret.
She got called to the scene just before 5 p.m. and found the horses close to the base of the tree. "They just looked like they dropped dead. There was no sign of any movement. No sign of any struggle."
Jeanneret said it's the first time she's seen such an incident, although she's heard of it previously.
"It happens. It's super rare." It's hard to say what kind of advice to give owners of animals. If a barn is properly built with a ground connection, it will be safe during a thunder storm. But many shelters are flimsy and might not offer much protection.
Maple Ridge fire chief Peter Grootendorst said horses could be more vulunerable to electric shock because their wide stance allows more electricity to travel through their bodies.
According to Environment Canada, the wild summer storm was caused by a low-pressure system off Oregon's coast that has been moving north, bringing monsoon-like rain and thunderstorms to parts of southwest B.C.
The rain flooded a section of Stewart Crescent in Maple Ridge and lightning struck a Hydro pole, causing a small fire.
The sudden summer squall also knocked out power and Internet connections in Maple Ridge and swamped a corner of Maple Meadows Industrial Park, near Kingston Street.
At one time, more than a metre of water was on the road, said Grootendorst.
"Because there's so much pavement there, it was running out of the parking lots," cascading, he said.
He was told one car was actually floating in the water. As quickly as the storm descended on to Maple Ridge and Pitt Meadows, it left. "Nothing major," as far as damage, Grootendorst said.
B.C. Hydro reported five power outages in the 241st Street and Dewdney Trunk Road area, while about 20 outages were reported in Pitt Meadows around 188th Street and Lougheed Highway and along Bonson Road.
About 6,500 customers in Metro Vancouver and the Sunshine Coast were without electricity.
Local firefighters, at about 3:30 p.m., responded to three reports of alarms going off in buildings, caused by power surges caused by lightning strikes. One call was from a building on 223rd Street in the downtown after a lightning hit nearby.
Firefighters also responded to a call about a power pole on fire near 132nd Street, but couldn’t locate it.
A power outage caused by the storm grounded planes at Vancouver International Airport.
Last year, a lightning bolt struck a house in Pitt Meadows, causing a small fire.
Environment Canada issued weather warnings for the Fraser Valley, Similkameen and Okanagan Valley, with 50 mm of rain expected in some parts.
The system was expected to move away from the South Coast by Friday evening.
– with files from the Canadian Press