Tuesday, June 21, 2011

Saturday's Fire

I have learned from some of the neighbors, that we had quite the calamity here on our street early Saturday morning.  As I reported, I was awakened by the most horrendous clap of thunder at about 2:30 AM.

By 3:30 our street was awash with fire trucks and flashing lights.  But slowly they disappeared.    But now for the story as to what actually happened.

The lightening hit the house four doors down to our East, apparently on the fireplace stack.  The charge traveled down the the side of the house and into the steel beams that hold the center of the structure.  The metal jacks transferred the energy into the ground of the concrete floor.

Some of this energy was dissipated into the natural gas pipe that also came in from  outside in the ground.  It seems to have welded the pipe off somehow, as gas was not feeding the fire.  Fire fighters secured the line into the house.  Had this not happened, the pipe would have been a giant blow torch.

As it was, the East wall of the home was on fire under the sheet rock.  Fire fighters had to pry off all the wall board and extinguish the smoldering insulation.  When I was out in the street most of the fire had been extinguished, and the firemen were in a wrap up phase.

They had saved most of the house, as it looks quite normal from the outside, but neighbors that have been inside say that the whole house is ruined.  Smoke has permeated the entire building, and all carpets and cabinets will need to be replaced.  I was told that insurance adjusters contemplated tearing down the remaining home and building it again from the ground, but decided to attempt the  repairs instead.  That may change once they get started to see how badly it is really damaged. 

The families clothes and other belongings are mostly un salvageable. They had a small child sleeping in the bedroom directly inside where the bolt struck the house, and she and her mom left for a motel room immediately.  I am sure that will leave bad dreams for this young person.

Many of the neighbors were worried that the house would become engulfed in flame and burn to the ground.  And all this happened while I was sound asleep.  I did hear them in the street once they had the fire hydrant hooked up, and that was what caused me to see all the flashing red and blue lights.

The interesting part of this, is that we had an option to purchase that house when we bought this one.  Both of them had the same floor plan, and were waiting for color and finish selections.  We liked our current home better because the other one had Mediterranean roof designs, while our home has ordinary gable roof peaks.

It could have very easily been us, had we made a different decision six years ago.

Retired Rod


  1. I would have chosen the gabled roof too. Lucky you did!

  2. Those rather small decisions (gable or Mediterranean roof) can make such an impact in our lives years down the road. So glad that everyone was safe, so very sad they lost almost everything.

  3. In the 1980's we had a house fire, and most of the contents were ruined by smoke and water damage. It was a traumatic time, but I learned again what I had always known, that people are more important than things. I'm glad no one was hurt in the fire.

  4. Good thing nobody was hurt, houses can be replaced. See how life takes such little turns.Were having a ball on our trip. Be safe out there. Sam & Donna..

  5. It's scary to see just how much damage can result from a lightning strike. It's something we hardly ever think about. Sure glad the folks got out o.k.

  6. Prayers go out for the family that had the fire. Thank God there were no physical injuries, but the child may have to have some kind of help in the future.


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