A Riverside dentist’s office was put out of commission for a couple of days last week after a bolt of lightning struck the building’s chimney and set the roof on fire.
Located in an old Victorian home at 24 Woodside Road, Dr. Jeri Coffey’s office was hit by lightning at about 10 p.m. on Wednesday, July 18 as a strong storm moved through the area.
It could have been worse, if not for the fact that the normally unoccupied apartment on the second and third floors of the building were occupied by Coffey’s son, Quinn, who is staying there for the summer.
“I was sort of getting ready for bedc on tghe second floor, when there was a really, really loud lightning strike,” said Quinn Coffey.
Five minutes later, Quinn heard a smoke alarm, but it was a muted sound and he thought it might have been coming from the computer server in the office.
When he went to go check upstairs he found a third-floor room filled with smoke coming from a closet.
At first, he grabbed a fire extinguisher to put out the flames, but gave up.
Without a cellphone, he ran outside into the rain and found a Riverside police officer, who happened to be driving by.
Because the flames were not visible from the street, said Coffey, it’s likely that fire would have done greater damage inside before anyone saw it to call the fire department.
The fire damage was limited to the third-floor area, although smoke filled other parts of the building. On Friday, fans were still working to clear the house of the smoke smell.
The lightning strike destroyed the phone system and damaged computer equipment. But by Saturday, Dr. Coffey was seeing a few patients. It wasn’t until Tuesday, however, that the office was operating at close to full capacity.
According to Jeanine Ramoksa, the office manager for the business, the roof of the house will have to be replaced and crews were training employees on the new phone system Tuesday.
While computer equipment was fried by the lightning strike, no patient data was lost, said Ramoska.