Lightning strikes Dougherty Co. home, sparks fire - WALB.com, South Georgia News, Weather, Sports

Lightning strikes Dougherty Co. home, sparks fire

Fire officials responded quickly after a lightning strike sparked a fire in a Dougherty County home. (Source: WALB) Fire officials responded quickly after a lightning strike sparked a fire in a Dougherty County home. (Source: WALB)
The lightning went from the tree through the roof of the house and into the attic. (Source: WALB) The lightning went from the tree through the roof of the house and into the attic. (Source: WALB)
Jeff Lawson (Source: WALB) Jeff Lawson (Source: WALB)
Albany Fire Department Investigator Sam Harris (Source: WALB) Albany Fire Department Investigator Sam Harris (Source: WALB)

A lightning strike sparked a fire at a Dougherty County home Tuesday night.

Firefighters were able to confine the fire to the attic of the home because of a quick response.

This shows why the frequent afternoon and evening thunderstorms Southwest Georgia is seeing need to be taken very seriously.

Just before 11 p.m. last night, lightning hit the pine tree outside of a home in the 900 block of River Pointe Drive, leaving a large mark.

Neighbors in the area said that they felt it too.

"I live 5 or 6 houses down and I heard it. It actually knocked my power out," explained neighbor Jeff Lawson.

The lightning went from the tree through the roof of the house and into the attic.

"The lightning when it hits, it bounces. It goes where it decides it's going. Again there is no rhyme or reason to lightning," said Albany Fire Department Investigator Sam Harris.

Homeowner Missy Hancock said that she was blessed because she was home and awake. She called her neighbor who quickly called 911.

"When I got her, I could smell smoke but I couldn't tell where it was coming from," said Lawson.

The fire burned in the attic. Firefighters broke another hole in the roof to vent it and have a way to put it out.

The fire damage was mostly to the roof and attic. Inside the home the damage was relatively minor, but still frightening.

Firefighters said that there are steps people can take to protect their home from lightning.

First, they can install a surge suppressor in their panel box.

"The second thing is you can install lightning rods, which will put the lightning, disseminate the energy into the ground," explained Harris.

But Harris reminds people that even those steps will not totally prevent a lightning fire. 

"In a lightning strike, I always felt like I was safe in my house," explained Lawson. "But last night I realized you really need to have smoke detectors in there."

Firefighters said that going inside your home during a lightning storm is necessary to stay safe. This on River Pointe Drive shows just how dangerous lightning can be.

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