2 House Fires Caused by Lightning Strike - WRCBtv.com | Chattanooga News, Weather & Sports

2 House Fires Caused by Lightning Strike

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HAMILTON COUNTY, TN (WRCB) -

Tuesday night's storm is also to blame for several house fires in our area. Fire investigators believe at least 2 houses caught fire after they were struck by lightning.

One of 2 houses struck by lightning, is owned by Community Kitchen's Executive Director Jens Christensen. The lightning traveled through his electrical socket sparking a fire, Tuesday night. Thankfully no one was hurt.

"It was awful the sky turned green, the clouds started rolling in, the rain followed and trees started swaying," said Christensen.

Christensen tells Channel 3, he was at the dinner table with his family talking about the storm and safety when it happened because his kids wanted to know what to do in case of an emergency. Then all of a sudden there was a flash, lightning struck.

"It sounded like it hit the house, within a second you heard the impact of the lightning then you heard the thunder," said Christensen.

The family's planning turned into quick action. Christensen checked the house for smoke and found there was a fire spreading up his curtains.

"The flames that were on the curtain itself were taller than me," said Christensen. "The flames were coming from the ground shooting all the way up and they were growing quick. Had it not been for the smoke detectors, we would have lost our home more than likely."

A home on Alabama Road in Apison wasn't as lucky, the homeowner told Channel 3, lightning struck his chimney igniting a blaze that consumed several rooms.

The strike knocked out his alarm system and land-line. He called for help on his cell, no one was hurt.

The family of 6 is now forced to stay with friends until they re-build. Fire officials estimate the fire, smoke and water caused about $75,000 to $100,000 dollars in damage. The family tells Channel 3, they do have insurance.

Fire officials say if your home is struck by lightning you should first check all of the rooms looking for smoke or flames. If you see a fire, evacuate immediately and call for help.

If you don't see smoke or flames, they say you should wait to be sure. Sometimes a fire can spark several hours after lightening strikes. Official say you should also practice prevention.

If there is lightning outside, turn off all major appliances, stay away from water, out of the shower/ bathtub and away from electronics.

Fire officials say it's also important you stay away from all plumbing fixtures including clothes washers, windows, doors, porches, pools and fire places.

According to the Federal Emergency Management Agency lightning is still one of the top 3 storm-related killers in the United States.

On average there are about 50 lightning-strike deaths each year.

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