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RE: Lighting damage to concrete foundation

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I have had occassion to investigate concrete damage due to lightning on guyed tower structures when the grounding was inadvertantly disconnected. It arced from the steel tower at the base through the reinforced contrete base and blew it to pieces. ...Pretty impressive!!

Harold Sprague

From: Jim Wilson <wilsonengineers(--nospam--at)>
Reply-To: <seaint(--nospam--at)>
To: seaint(--nospam--at)
Subject: Lighting damage to concrete foundation
Date: Mon, 22 Aug 2005 08:30:48 -0700 (PDT)

I had a call from a residential client with a house
struck by lightning.  She claimed that the lightning
entered the house through a septic line and blew the
interior foam insulation off the inside wall of the
poured concrete foundation.  The lightning then
traveled through the foundation and blew the
insulation off of a couple of other areas.

I've never heard of such a thing but it got me
wondering if lightning can damage either the chemical
structure of cured concrete or if it can damage the
reinforcing steel.  Supposedly, there is some cracking
in these areas, but no one's sure if it is new or not.
 I couldn't take a stab at that assessment until I had
a look at it.

Any thoughts?  It sounds liks the insurance company is
waiting for a professional opinion of how much
investigation is required to assess the problem.

Jim Wilson, P.E.
Stroudsburg, PA

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