Lightning responsible for 2 area structure fires - | Chattanooga News, Weather & Sports

Lightning responsible for 2 area structure fires

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Story by Megan Boatwright
Eyewitness News Reporter

CHATTANOOGA (WRCB)-- With overnight storms came lightning, which is being blamed in two structure fires.

The roof of a home in East Ridge was hit, sparking a fire.

Several hours later, a garage in Catoosa County went up in flames.

Fire officials estimate about $75,000 in damage to the East Ridge home. It seems the homeowner of the second fire in Catoosa County is a car collector.

He was able to save a classic Camero and 1966 Pontiac GTO, but his Model-T Ford did sustain some damage.

"My husband and I were just drinking coffee and we were both looking out the window and we saw the lightning come down," says Tammie Wright.

Tammie Wright has a clear view of her neighbor's home and detached garage from her house across the street.

"I knew that they had like old vehicles, antique cars in there, so we were afraid that lighting had hit it and it was exploding," says Wright.

Fire officials say that's exactly what happened to the four door garage on Napier Lane in Catoosa County.

"There were some older vehicles inside, some antique cars," says Jim White with the Catoosa County Fire Department.

Hours earlier in East Ridge, a lightning bolt also hit Michael Brinkley's neighbor's home on Missionaire Avenue.

"Flames coming through the roof, waiting for the fire trucks to get here, and they got here really quick," says Brinkley.

The homeowners say they had just gotten out of bed, when lightning struck the roof and a flaming tree branch came through the window.

"We knew something was hit then I heard my neighbor screaming and I looked out and saw them all out in the yard," says Brinkley.

In both cases no one was injured, but the East Ridge family will have to find a place to stay until repairs are made.

Fire officials say no amount of pre-planning could have prevented what happened.

"Lighting is a random thing, and there's not a whole lot you can do about it," says White.

Both homeowners declined to comment on camera for our story.

Fire officials in Catoosa County did mention the homeowner will likely try to restore damage done to his Model-T Ford.

In East Ridge the roof and attic of the home sustained the most damage, but firefighters were able to cover and protect most of the family's belongings.

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