Lightning strikes spark several house fires across CSRA

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News 12 at 6 o'clock / Thursday, June 27, 2013

(Credit: MGN Online)
(Credit: MGN Online)

AUGUSTA, Ga. (WRDW) -- It looks like a bomb went off in the Bracewells' house. They weren't home when they got a frightening phone call from the Sheriff's Office.

"She said, 'Do you live at 3741 Pebble Beach Drive?' I said yes, and I was getting scared then," said Fred Bracewell.

She told him lightning had struck the roof of his house and that it was on fire. Insurance adjusters were there Thursday to help assess all of the damage.

"You just don't think of that happening. It's like getting struck by lightning yourself, you don't think it's going to happen, but it's possible," Bracewell said.

But with all of the stormy weather we've been having lately, unfortunately, it's been happening a lot.

Labritt Goodwin was at his home on Tate Road two days ago when lightning hit his neighbors' home.

"I saw the flames like raging outside of the window and all the glass blew out of the side windows," he said.

At one point, he thought his own house might catch on fire.

"The heat from everything blowing out the windows was so hot that it actually melted the siding that's on the side of my house," he said.

It was a similar story on Saturday on Gardners Mill Road when lightning struck a tree behind a home, catching the roof on fire.

"You get used to the rain after a while, but you don't think anything like this would happen from it," Goodwin said.

But while Mother Nature's fury can be hard to prevent, Columbia County EMA Director Pam Tucker says there are some things you can do to minimize lightning damage.

"You can buy a little smoke detector for seven or eight bucks and put it in your attic because a lot of times, you'll hear those loud lightning bolts, and you'll know it's close. Well if it hits your own attic, you may not even be aware of that," she said.

She does warn against using lightning rods. She says those will just attract lightning to your home and cause serious damage if they aren't properly grounded.

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