Residents and regulars sat on the porch of and watched the sky turn from sunny and blue to dark gray in a matter of moments. Thunder cracked and streak lightning flashed across the sky, causing one coffee drinker to say, "This is like the Fourth of July!"
The rain came down hard and fast, but no one on the porch seemed to mind. Those inside the cafe came out to see the spectacle and the air was almost electrified with excitement.
Only minutes into the downpour, sounds of fire trucks' horns filled the air, as down the street and around the corner a shed had been struck by lightning and burst into flames.
Owner Michelle Peck described the moment she heard the loud BOOM! She was home with her children when they heard the noise, but the house seemed fine and the power stayed on. A few minutes later, when she looked in the backyard, her first thought was there was a sunset. She suddenly recognized the fire, called 911 and gathered up the kids and dog, and left the house.
Although the fire was outside, the event had shaken her up, and as tears rolled from her eyes, she said the entire event had truly frightened her and her children.
Assistant Fire Chief Scott Warner said this was the second shed this week that had been destroyed by lightning.
At about the same time, along Route 302 (at Linda Lane) heading into Newtown, a large tree branch had brought down wires causing an electrical fire. Sgt. Bruce Ross of the sat in his car at Route 302 heading off traffic going toward Bethel. As he got out of the car, he asked, referring to the fact that the ground was electrified from the downed wires, "Can you feel it in your legs? The tingling?"
A CL&P worker said later, "If you can feel the tingling from downed wires, you are too close."
Approximately an hour later, CL&P workers were on the scene, grounding the wires, and then restringing them in the continuing rain.
According to Mitch Gross, CL&P spokesman, the storm hit Litchfield and Fairfield counties the hardest. The bad news was that Bethel and Newtown saw relatively significant power outages. At their peak, Bethel had 12% of town without power while Newtown had 5% out. The good news, Gross, said, there were plenty of trucks to come quickly to their aid.
As of 8:15 a.m., there was still one Bethel customer without power and 15 in Newtown.