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Lightning hits Southampton police HQ

Southampton Town Police Department in Hampton Bays. (May

Southampton Town Police Department in Hampton Bays. (May 17, 2012) Credit: Randee Daddona

A lightning strike at Southampton Town Police Department headquarters on Tuesday morning briefly knocked out emergency communications and forced the department to switch to its mobile command center.

The system that is used by police, fire and ambulance to communicate was down for "a few minutes" before switching to the backup system, which was in the parking lot.

"It was a smooth transition," Sgt. Andrew Ficurilli said.

About 10:30 a.m., Ficurilli said workers inside the Hampton Bays headquarters could see flashes of lightning getting closer. All the lights flickered off. Then the console lights went on, signaling a "system failure."

The 911 system was not affected, and Ficurilli said the department could still take incoming emergency calls.

No one was hurt by the lightning strike. The cost and extent of the damage to a communications tower is still being assessed, Ficurilli said.

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