Lightning from Wednesday's thunderstorm apparently struck a 15-foot chimney on top of the Factory Direct furniture store in downtown Brainerd, shattering about three quarters of the chimney and sending a large piece of it crashing into the roof of apartments above Tropical Nights nightclub.
Factory Direct, Tropical Nights and the laundry room of the apartments all sustained water damage after the chimney piece punched a hole in the roof of the laundry room.
The small remnants of the rest of the chimney were scattered across the roof and into the alley behind the building.
David Pueringer, owner of Tropical Nights and the building that houses Factory Direct and the apartments, said he was unsure exactly when the lightning apparently struck, but he got the call about the demolished chimney and leaking roof at about 8 a.m.
He arrived at Tropical Nights to find water pouring from the ceiling into the rear of his establishment soaking speakers, tables, bar stools and carpets, forcing him to close the business.
Factory Direct also sustained damage to its ceiling, floors and storage room, which is located below Tropical Nights.
It was too early to tell what the cost of the damage would be, Pueringer said, but he thought it might be high because the roof on the building was new.
"We're probably talking $50,000," he said. "We have to replace the roof."
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