Aldridge damaged after Thursday storms

Vicky O. Misa
The Shawnee News-Star
After storms rolled through Shawnee Thursday night, the Aldridge Apartments building was hit by lightning, causing some damage to the brickwork on the northwest end of the roof.

Thursday evening's storms brought with them an unusual situation — bricks raining down from the Aldridge Apartments, at 20 E. 9th St.

It was stormy most of the day for several Oklahoma communities, much of it concentrated north and/or east of Shawnee. But, by evening, the city finally caught some heavy rain and wind rolling through the area.

Damage is often expected from such storms, but the Aldridge was reportedly fine until the storms were over. It appears lightning struck the building after the rain had already gone.

“It was an act of nature, “ Shawnee Emergency Manager Rachelle Erickson said.

She said she and her storm spotter crew heard a boom from the basement of city hall less than a block away from the Aldridge.

“It was after the storm had gone, when the orange sky and the rainbow came out,” she said.

The group had gone outside to see what had happened so close, but didn't see or hear anything else about it.

“No one called here (at the emergency management office),” she said.

At the time, a fire alarm had sounded at the Aldridge, so the fire department was sent out. Finding no fire or threat, they reset the alarm, she said. The SFD also reported discovering bricks in the parking lot just behind the senior apartment building, Erickson said, so they taped off the area.

Friday morning drones were sent out to take photos to assess the situation, she said.

“There is a small tower-type structure on the northwest corner of the building that was hit,” she said. “No other bricks or mortar appeared out of place anywhere else on the building.”

A lone vehicle parked right next to the building did get hammered with the bricks, causing some damage.

Other than that, Erickson said the incident did not cause the Aldridge's electricity to go out, nor did it cause any damage or flooding to the eighth floor residences.

She said the event was a little odd.

There are some higher structures in the area that would seem to be more expected targets for lightning, she said.

The Aldridge is on the National Register of Historic Places, meaning repairs will have to restore the building exactly as it was, she said.

Erickson said so far she hasn't heard yet of any other issues caused by Thursday's storms — other than the usual stalled vehicles in areas of high-flood risk.

After storms rolled through Shawnee Thursday night, the Aldridge Apartments building was hit by lightning, causing some damage to the brickwork on the northwest end of the roof.

For story ideas, questions or concerns, reporter Vicky O. Misa can be reached at vicky.misa@news-star.com.