Pickerington Times-Sun

Lightning strike possible cause of house fire

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A lightning strike is being investigate as the possible cause of a fire that caused an estimated $100,000 damage to a house in the 400 block of Grinnell Street in the Sycamore Creek subdivision.

It didn't take very long after a short series of thunderous booms rocked Pickerington in the mid-afternoon of Sunday, July 13 for Violet Township fire engines to barrel south down Hill Road.

Firefighters were responding to a house fire in the 400 block of Grinnell Street in the Sycamore Creek subdivision that caused heavy damage but no reported injuries.

The cause of the fire has not yet been determined but the fire, reported by a neighbor, was possibly the result of a lightning strike.

"The specific cause is still under investigation and we will continue to work in coordination with the insurance company investigation team," said Violet Township Fire Chief John Eisel.

"Our estimate (of damage) is $100,000," he said.

In addition to firefighters and equipment from Violet Township, the Truro and Madison township fire departments as well as the Basil Joint Fire District were called to the scene.

"There were no injuries to the owners, they were out of town and their dogs were staying somewhere else so there was no loss of life," Eisel said.

Next door neighbor Bruce Rowles said he was convinced lightning was the culprit.

"We were watching tv and we heard a (lightning strike)," Rowles said.

"I came outside and walked around my house," he said.

Rowles didn't see anything and went back inside.

Neighbors called in the fire after witnessing the house smoldering.

Eisel said firefighters responded quickly and attacked the fire from the rear of the structure.

"It burnt through the floor on the first floor," he said.

Eisel said fire investigators will make a final determination as to the cause of the fire, although two other firefighters on the scene said they also suspected lightning.

"We have seen a fair amount of structure fires that have been attributed to lightning and we hope to have more information about that going forward," Eisel.

According to the National Fire Protection Association, lightning starts about 4,400 home fires a year and causes an estimated $283 million in damages.