PRINCETON, W.Va. (WVNS) — The Mercer County Courthouse was struck by lightning during a storm on Wednesday, July 13, 2022.

A lightning bolt struck the communications antenna that sat on top of the courthouse building.

Chief Deputy Alan Christian with the Mercer County Sheriff’s Department said this is a shocking event to happen.

“Quite a bit of anxious moments, quite a few anxious moments there, a lot of smoke. The fire department had to clear the whole courthouse to make sure there weren’t any smoldering fires or anything like that,” Christian said.

After the building was evacuated, crews found out their hardwired radios and communication towers were fried.

But Keith Gunnoe, Director of the Mercer County Emergency Management said they were still able to keep in contact with emergency crews.

“It didn’t affect their communication at all, it didn’t affect the 911 center, their particular radio frequency, they still had their portable radios so it really didn’t disrupt the ability to do their job or service,” Gunnoe said.

Gunnoe said there’s no way to prevent a lightning bolt from striking a building or home, but he tells us what you can do to be prepared.

“If a lightning bolt hits a power pole somewhere, surges electricity into the home, it can cause major damage to the electrical wiring in the house and all the appliances and all that stuff, so if you know those types of events are happening, you can unplug those appliances, your computer, that kind of thing,” Gunnoe said.