Photo: Damage to McPherson Co. middle school

Photo: Damage to McPherson Co. middle school (by Samantha Anderson / July 26, 2013)

Lightning is likely to blame for a fire that caused extensive damage to the roof of a middle school gym in McPherson County overnight.

Superintendent of Canton-Galva Schools Bill Seidl tells us they believe lightning struck the Canton-Galva Middle School in Galva late Thursday or early Friday morning.

A train conductor with Union Pacific noticed the fire at around 2:30 and called emergency crews.

"I can't imagine if he hadn't called it in how long it would have burned," Richard Baldwin, Galva Fire Captain said.

Galva fire crews started working on the fire, but needed to call in ladder trucks from McPherson so they could get a better angle on the fire.

"Cred goe to the guys that were on the roof that stopped this," Baldwin said.

Seidl says the roof of the gym suffered extensive damage, but things could have been worse.

The gym was flooded recently and needed to be replaced.  Seidl says the damaged gym floor was already removed from the gym, but the new floor has not been installed. 

He says the charred roof material fell onto a concrete instead of a new gym floor.

"They removed the wood which really helped us out in this part of it," Seidl said. "If it would have caught on fire, heaven knows what else would have happened."

Aside from the roof damage, there is some smoke damage to other parts of the building.

No one was hurt.

Eyewitness News will have more on the fire later today on our newscasts and here at

Middle school catches fire in McPherson County