Lightning strikes Fuquay-Varina home, sparks blaze

A lightning strike is to blame for a house fire in Fuquay-Varina early Wednesday morning.
February 19, 2014 10:21:16 AM PST
A lightning strike is to blame for a house fire in Fuquay-Varina early Wednesday morning.

It happened just after 5 a.m. in the 500 block of Troutwood Place, near NC Highway 55.

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The homeowners said when the strike happened, the house shook, but they didn't notice anything wrong at first.

"I walked through the house and I figured, 'Boy that was a close hit,'" Harry Douglas said. "I thought I was going to look outside and see a tree down or something.

He said since the lights were still working inside the house and he didn't see any obvious signs of damage, he went back to bed. However, the family soon began to smell smoke.

"My wife called me a minute later, said it smells like the refrigerator blew up, because it was an electrical smell," Douglas said. "She went out there, opened the garage door and boy, the smoke just roared in! So we slammed the door, called 911."

The family was able to get out of the house safely before firefighters arrived.

Officials said lightning struck the side of the home by the garage and traveled down the rain gutter, and into the sprinkler system in the yard.

Fire crews were able to quickly put out the blaze, which mainly damaged part of the garage.

"We got here quick, got the fire out before it got too big," Fuquay-Varina Fire Chief Tony Mauldin said. "The homeowners noticed it real quick due to the lightning strike. So everything worked out to the homeowner's favor."

Officials said despite the garage being attached to the house and the fire burning in there, it did not set off the smoke alarms in the house.

"We were fortunate," Douglas said. "There's no other way to look at it."

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