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Lightning Strikes building in Downtown Idaho Falls

The ARTitorium in downtown Idaho Falls was struck by lightning Saturday night.

The chimney on top of the building was destroyed and a car on the street was damaged when a brick from the chimney fell on the windshield, shattering it.

No one was in the ARTitorium at the time but guests at The Destinations Inn next door had to be evacuated.

One of the guests said they were watching the storm through a window and saw a huge flash of light, flames and smoke when the next door building was hit.

The hotel was sold out and about 24 guests had to be out of their rooms for about 20 minutes before firefighters said it was safe to go back into the building.

Fire crews went through both buildings making sure there was not any fire because of the strike.

Lance Johnson, Idaho Falls Fire Department Battalion Chief said “The call came in as an explosion in the area, when we arrived there was smoke in both buildings and the crawl space between the buildings but there was no active fire.”

Three engines, one ladder truck, two ambulances and the battalion chief responded to the scene.

The street behind the ARTitorium and Destination’s Inn has been closed off because of the danger of more bricks falling from the damaged chimney.

The Artitorium will be closed Sunday, July 14 while the damage is assessed and then a decision will be made on when to re-open.

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