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Fire & Water - Cleanup & Restoration

Lightning Loves Houses – and Fire May Follow the Flash

6/3/2020 (Permalink)

Lightning strike over a home Lightning can be beautiful in the distance, but it sure does cause a lot of damage

Lightning can be beautiful in the distance, but it sure does cause a lot of damage. Not only is it extremely dangerous to life, it’s a major cause of fires – at least 22,000 per year on average – and over $450 million in property damage. Most of the damage – and deaths – were from houses caught in a lightning fire.

Houses Make Great Targets

A lightning fire can happen anywhere there is combustible material, but they are surprisingly common in houses. There are three reasons for that:

  • Many houses are taller than the surrounding area.
  • Houses have conductive wires and pipes in them, forming an easier electrical path.
  • TV antennas and wires above houses make excellent attractors.

Dangerous From a Distance
Normal lightning can easily travel 12 miles from a thunderstorm. Much worse, the dreaded “bolt from the blue” is not only sneaky – from as many as 25 miles away – it’s often positively-charged, making it potentially 10 times stronger than a regular bolt!

A House Fire Is a Frequent Result of a Strike
Lightning has far more electricity in it than your house’s electrical system can safely handle. Once it gets into your wires it’s going to overload them. This will instantly burn the insulation and cause an arc that can set ablaze any nearby dry, combustible materials.
Most – but not all – lightning fires in Thorncreek, CO, will start in the attic since that’s usually the closest point of entry. However, the fire can start anywhere along the electrical lines – or even metal plumbing. Obviously, this blast can seriously damage any electronics plugged in and require major residential electrical repairs.
Once a house fire has started, don’t worry about the cause; get everyone out, call the fire department and, if you can safely do so, attempt to put it out with a fire extinguisher. Even if you can reduce the flames a bit, it’ll buy you time until the fire department arrives.
Next, call a professional fire damage restoration company to tarp and board exposed areas. They’ll work with your insurance company and also get started on clean up as fast as possible.

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