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Family recovering after fire in rural Thomson

Lightning blamed for causing blaze

THOMSON – A Carroll County family plans to rebuild their house after a fire damaged much of it. 

No one was hurt.

Shortly after 3 p.m. Sept. 17, lightning struck a propane gas line that led into their brick ranch-style house in rural Thomson, the family said. The fire started in the basement. 

Barb Hartman and her husband, Bob, both 55, and their daughter, Jessica Hartman, 24, were working at the time. 

Bob Hartman was in the shop at the family farm meeting with a seed corn customer when they heard the loud thunder, his wife said Monday. 

“They knew the lightning had struck close. He [Bob] went through all of the buildings. When he came out of the barn, he saw the house engulfed in smoke,” she said. 

Chadwick firefighters quickly arrived at their house at 2209 state Route 78, Barb Hartman said. Other fire departments also helped.

The family was told that 45 firefighters with 18 trucks joined in the effort, she said. The house, built in 1974, wasn’t a total loss.

“The structure will be saved. Everything will be gutted,” she said.  

She said the family has insurance. While they have lost a lot, she said, they may be able to save some of their items, including furniture, clothing and photos.

“We lost Jessica’s senior photo over the fireplace. We’ll contact the photographer and try to get another one,” she said. 

Their Rhodesian ridgeback, Abby, fortunately was outside when the fire started, the family said. 

Barb Hartman owns Carroll County Locker in Lanark, a processing plant and retail meat store. Their daughter is a teacher at Unity Christian Schools in Fulton; she formerly worked at Sterling’s Christ Lutheran School. 

The family is staying at the Comfort Inn in Fulton, but may be moving soon into a two-bedroom apartment in Mount Carroll.

They expect to be out of their house for 6 months.

“We’re doing pretty well,” Barb Hartman said. “We’re blessed with good family and friends.”

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