Letters to the Editor

Letter: Lightning danger

October 6, 2013


To the editor:

It has come to my attention that four tall city-owned buildings do not have lightning rods: City Hall, the Community Health Facility, Lawrence Memorial Hospital and the Lawrence Arts Center. Also, the plans for the new library do not include lightning rods.

After a lightning strike resulted in the destruction of Hoch Auditorium in the early 1990s, Kansas taxpayers had to pay millions of dollars to rebuild the building because KU was self-insured. Now virtually all buildings on Mount Oread have lightning rods. Further, Douglas County has lightning rods on the courthouse and county jail and is exploring putting lightning rods on its new public works building now in the design phase.

It is a fact that lightning does not always strike the highest object, but it is more likely to do so. Therefore, it would seem prudent to install lightning rods on the tallest city-owned buildings.


skinny 4 years, 8 months ago

Hoch Auditorium had lightning rods and it did not save that building did it?

Charles L. Bloss, Jr. 4 years, 8 months ago

My 40' antenna tower was struck by lighting twice. The first time it cost the insurance company about $ 2,500, less my deductible. I asked the insurance company to pay to ground the tower, they refused. The second time the tower was hit by lightning it cost the insurance company about $ 3,500, less my deductible. I asked them to ground the tower, they refused. I paid around $ 1,500 to have the tower grounded correctly and have had no lightning strikes since then. It has been 15 or so years since the tower has been protected. I know farmers have had lightning rods on their barns, homes, etc for many years. I have no idea if they work. I have no idea if they work on modern buildings. They work on a single tall object, I can attest to that. You say all of the buildings on Mount Oread have them. Why take a chance when the cost of the rods are miniscule compared to what they are protecting?

Joe Hyde 4 years, 8 months ago

Wikipedia has a long, very interesting article on lightning rods, in which it states:

"The National Fire Protection Association, NFPA, does not currently endorse a device that can prevent or reduce lightning strikes. The NFPA Standards Council, following a request for a project to address Dissipation Array[tm] Systems and Charge Transfer Systems, denied the request to begin forming standards on such technology (though the Council did not foreclose on future standards development after reliable sources demonstrating the validity of the basic technology and science were submitted).[33]"

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