Archive for Wednesday, March 7, 2007

Lightning strikes local home during storm

March 7, 2007

Eudora City Fire Department firefighters worked through heavy rains, lightning and hail Feb. 28 to determine damage caused by a lightning strike at the Eudora home of Nathan Fortner.

The incident occurred in the 300 block of West 26th Street during one of a series of storms that swept through the area last Wednesday.

According to a briefing prepared by Eudora City Fire Chief Randy Ates, fire officials found no signs of flame upon arrival at the scene.

After searching the house, a burning smell was noticed, but no flames were found.

"If I had to take a guess, I would say less than $1,000 (in damage). All of it is external," Ates said.

The residents of the home told firefighters lightning struck the southwest corner of the structure, Ates said.

The residents saw sparks flying off the exterior of the home after the lightning strike, which caused electrical breakers within the home to trip, Ates said.

Firefighters battled weather conditions throughout the call.

"Part of the challenge was with the heavy rain and hail that was hitting," Ates said.

The work was made more difficult because of the slippery traction on the muddy lawn, he said.

The firefighters kept close track of the lightning. Ates said if the fire safety officer had seen air-to-ground lightning, any ladder use would have ceased.

"That's not something very common, to have to work in a thunderstorm," he said.

Firefighters kept a generator and portable lights at the ready in case of a power failure, Ates said.

A thorough check of the attic yielded nothing, Ates said.

The firefighters were dispatched to the scene at about 9:51 p.m. The first engine arrived on scene at 9:59 p.m. Both city fire trucks and 13 firefighters, two support vehicles and an ambulance responded to the call.

"Fortunately, it wasn't windy. That helped a lot," Ates said.

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