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Holy Name’s rapid response to rare lightning strike

06 9.28.17_holyname.lightning PAGEHoly Name of Jesus neighbor Tanya Lewis took this photo of lightning breaking over the Sunset District church in San Francisco on the evening of Sept. 11. (Photo courtesy Holy Name of Jesus/Tanya Lewis)

September 28, 2017
Catholic San Francisco

The San Francisco Bay Area was surprised by a thunder and lightning storm that damaged a PG&E transformer and roof tiles at Holy Name of Jesus School the evening of Sept. 11. Principal Natalie Cirigliano cancelled classes Sept. 12. School was back in session the day after.

In a follow-up note to Catholic San Francisco, principal Cirigliano said systems are in place to reach students’ families in cases such as this: “We have an emergency alert system that allows us to text, email, and leave voicemails for families so it was very easy to get the message out and fewer than five families showed up for school. It was great to see that our program was a success and dependable in an emergency!”

The school had generators on the first day back: “We had generators for a day. PG&E was great. They worked very fast to get us up and running, and they were very kind in thinking of the kids before they transitioned us back to a new transformer” waiting until after 3 p.m. to turn off the electricity and make the switch, Cirigliano said.

Cirigliano said the roof was repaired quickly. “Steve Kalpakoff and Derek Gaskin were very helpful in the process. They both responded immediately. Steve came to do a walk-through to assess the safety Tuesday morning. Derek assisted me in getting the message to Steve.”

Kalpakoff of the property department and Gaskin of safety and emergency procedures are headquartered in archdiocesan offices on Peter Yorke Way. Onsite help also played a part Cirigliano said. “Vince DeLucca, our maintenance coordinator, was huge in getting the school back and running. He worked all day coordinating with roofers, PG&E and the archdiocese.”

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