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Apparent lightning fries alarm system

Butler County is walking a few extra miles to guarantee fire safety after Mother Nature showed her wrath.

Workers on Wednesday conducted inspections inside the county courthouse after an apparent lightning strike fried the building alarm system Tuesday night.

John Campbell, director of county facilities and operations, said on Wednesday people would maintain surveillance of the building interior while the fire alarm system is repaired.

“We’re continuing the fire watch,” he said.

Sometime before 8 p.m. Tuesday, a panel in the courthouse basement was overloaded, shutting down the fire alarm system.

“It cooked the power supply,” Campbell said.

When that system short circuits, an electronic notification system kicks in.

Campbell said a lightning strike could have hit the metal in the courthouse’s bell tower and traveled to the basement through wiring.

No other system in the courthouse was damaged. The adjacent county office building was not affected.

“The panel in the government center is operational,” Campbell said.