Lightning strike sparks crawlspace fire

Lightning sparked a fire in the crawlspace of a Fayette home on Sunday, burning for several hours before it created enough smoke and damage to set off smoke detectors. No one was injured. (Photo Courtesy of Fayette County Fire and Emergency Services)

by Emma Smith

Fayette County firefighters responded to a fire caused by a lightning strike that entered a house off Tyrone Road via the gas line in the crawlspace on Sunday, July 22.

The lightning strike created a small gas leak and ignited it underneath the house. The small fire burned for several hours under a hardwood floor before it created enough smoke and damage to set off smoke detectors.

The fire was safely extinguished and no one was hurt.

Deputy Fire Chief Tom Bartlett said the lightning most likely hit the area adjacent to where the fire started and ran in on the gas line.

“A lot of times it will find an imperfection in the joint, and that’s where it will pop a hole in it, and as soon as that gas releases with the mixture of the fuel and the air, it will catch fire,” he said.

Bartlett said there have been several incidents like this one in which residents were unaware of any problems.

“We’ve had several of those [incidents] over the years, and sometimes it could be a day or two before people realize they have a problem,” he said. “It’s one of those things that when it happens and it’s left unchecked, it could burn the house completely up.”

Bartlett recommends making sure your house is grounded according to all of the building codes in order to prevent incidents like this.

Any other inquiries on how to prevent fire emergencies should be directed toward Fayette County Fire and Emergency Services at (770) 305-5414.

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