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Lightning damages Nantucket's oldest home

NANTUCKET, Mass. -- Townspeople were rebuilding Nantucket Island's oldest home after a lightning bolt shattered the chimney and blew off part of the roof on the 301-year-old structure, officials said.

Members of the Nantucket Historical Association said Friday structural engineers were expected to arrive in over the weekend to assess damage to the Jethro Coffin House.

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No official damage estimate had been set.

The saltbox house, built in 1686 on Sunset Hill in the center of the picturesque island by some of Nantucket's first settlers, is a national historical landmark.

The jolt struck the chimney of the building at 5:15 p.m. Thursday, scattering bricks more than 100 yards, said an official of the association which owns the house.

John Welch, association director, credited fire department and more than 100 townspeople for protecting the structure by placing a tarp over the house and errecting a protective wooden frame.

'Immediately after the lightning struck, the community was out to help,' group member Sally Jones said. 'The whole house is going to have to be totally rebuilt.'

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