There were multiple lightning strikes in the city Sunday afternoon, the result of severe thunderstorms that passed quickly through the area, but Belfast’s fire chief said the city was spared any serious damage as a result of the strikes.

“We lucked out,” said Fire Chief Jim Richards on Monday morning. “I’ve never seen anything quite like it.”

Richards said four lightning strikes were reported in a span of about 15 minutes around 4 p.m. Sunday. The most serious of those, he said, was reported at the old Masonic Hall building on the corner of High and Main streets.

There, Richards said, a lightning strike burned a hole through the roof line of the five-story building. The strike occurred on the High Street side of the building. He said a witness reported seeing flames 18 inches high coming from the spot where the lightning struck. Firefighters were on scene shortly with the department’s ladder truck and were able to put water onto the fire more easily that way.

“We lucked out on that one,” said Richards. “It could have been real serious, especially if it had happened in the middle of the night.”

John Butler of Light in the Forest Photography saw firefighters respond to the scene and said High Street was closed for about an hour while they completed their work in making sure the fire was extinguished.

Among the other three calls, one came from a Waldo Avenue residence, where lightning had apparently struck an antenna and knocked several shingles off the roof. The electricity from the strike burned a wire leading from the antenna, Richards said, but there was no fire.

Around the same time, a call came in from Patterson Hill on the East Side about a lightning strike there. Richards said a survey of the scene there showed no fire either, and that lightning had likely struck very close to a residence, rather than hitting the residence itself.

On Woods Road, a pine tree with a hollow trunk was knocked down and caught fire as a result of a lightning strike. Richards said firefighters had to run about 500 feet of hose to the scene to extinguish the tree.