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Updated Jul 12, 2012 - 7:32 am

Lightning sparks fire at Valley business

PHOENIX -- Lightning sparked a fire at a Phoenix business early Thursday morning, causing an estimated $100,000 in damage.

A bolt hit the Republic Monetary Exchange building near 40th Street and Camelback Road around 12:45 a.m., igniting a fire on the second story and roof.

"When I got the call, my heart started racing and I got out of bed real quick," CEO Jim Clark said. "I got over here only to find the place filled with firefighters and fire trucks. I thought: 'this thing is going to go up in smoke.' "

Firefighters were able to contain the blaze to the second floor but the water damage is extensive.

"Our sales floor is under about a half-inch of water," Clark said. "We lost a few computers but most of our expensive areas -- our vault and (computer) servers -- were spared."

The Exchange will be closed Thursday, Clark said.

About the Author

I'm a morning reporter covering stories for Arizona's Morning News with Ned and Connie.

Originally from Minneapolis/St. Paul, I came to Arizona in March of 2011 from Columbus, Ohio, where I previously covered politics and Ohio State football (pretty much the only two things in the Buckeye State's capital city).

I first visited Phoenix in January 2010, when Ohio State played Texas in the Fiesta Bowl (a heartbreaker). Seventy degrees and a room at the Camelback Inn in the middle of winter? I can live with that (no one told me about August).

My most memorable stories since arriving in the Valley have been Gabrielle Giffords' return to Tucson and resignation and the Supreme Court hearings on S.B. 1070 in Washington, but being on the anchor desk during the massive dust storm that swept through Phoenix last July was probably the biggest rush.

I primarily enjoy political and financial stories but if you ask me, the best thing about being a reporter is the daily interaction you have with people. One of my favorite parts of the job is covering something different and meeting someone new every day. It's incredibly rewarding to hear that one of your stories touched someone in the community.

Gayle Bass and I also co-host Arizona's Morning News Weekend, 6-8 a.m. Saturdays.


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