Image: Lightning struck a home in The Woodlands on Wednesday evening, June 20, 2018. The Woodlands Fire Department arrived at the scene within minutes after heroic across-the street neighbor Ken Neugebauer called 9-1-1 after he witnessed the lightning strike across the street while sitting in a chair on his driveway.
Roman Forest and The Woodlands, June 21 – A series of thunderstorms tracked across Montgomery County throughout the day Wednesday, bringing persistent rain and sparking fires in at least two homes struck by lightning.
The first fire was reported in a one story house under construction in the Tavola development near the City of Roman Forest. East Montgomery County Firefighters were able quickly to contain the fire and MCFMO Fire Investigators determined that lightning had struck the home, penetrating the roof and igniting a fire in the attic and walls of the home.
Soon after the first fire, a second fire was reported in a two story home on S. Dulcet Hollow Circle in South Montgomery County after heroic across-the street neighbor Ken Neugebauer called 9-1-1 after he witnessed the lightning strike across the street while sitting in a chair on his driveway. Firefighters from The Woodlands Fire Department were on scene in under 3 minutes and were able quickly to contain the fire to the attic and 2nd floor of the home. Several crews from WFD responded and they were assisted by a crew from the Magnolia Fire Department.
As in the first fire, MCFMO Fire Investigators traced the fire back to a lightning strike that ignited a fire in the attic of the home.
What to do if you suspect lightning has struck your home or business?
When lightning strikes a house, it can travel in any number of directions. Roofs often take a major hit, and fires can break out in the attic, growing unnoticed for some time until they are discovered. If you see or smell smoke, the first thing you should do is evacuate the home and call 911 from a safe location.
The surge usually takes the path of least resistance, which means electricity can run throughout all of the wiring and even plumbing in your home. Even if you do not see damage, you should consider contacting an electrician to inspect your home’s electrical systems. If you suspect that you have damage to your home, consider shutting off your electrical breakers and gas supply, and notify your insurance company.
After you make your initial emergency checks for roof damage and fire, you should inspect these elements to determine whether there is any damage:
- Check circuit breakers, outlets, and light switches for functionality
- Check appliances, shut off or unplug power if they appear damaged
- Test landline telephones to see whether they still work or not.