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Lightning strike sparks house fire

Thursday, April 24, 2008 | 7:58 p.m. CDT; updated 6:14 a.m. CDT, Tuesday, July 22, 2008

COLUMBIA — A house was struck by lightning Wednesday evening in south Columbia, sparking a fire that caused an estimated $100,000 in damage.

Firefighters responded at around 6:30 p.m. to 911 calls from a neighbor and homeowners Jeff and Sharon Viles reporting the fire at 7100 S. Quantrills Pass.

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Upon arrival, firefighters saw flames coming from the roof and upper eaves of the 10,000-square-foot house, said Division Chief Gale Blomenkamp of the Boone County Fire Protection District. Firefighters entered the house and determined the fire was contained in the space between the ceiling and the roof.

“It was contained right there where the lightning bolt hit the house,” Blomenkamp said.

The lightening struck the concrete tiles on the house which kept the lightening from penetrating the roof, said homeowner Jeff Viles, who was in that area of the house at the time.

Because the home’s high ceilings made accessing the fire difficult, firefighters cut holes in the roof to reach the flames The fire was extinguished in about 20 minutes, Blomenkamp said.

Fire officials reported little smoke damage to the home because the lightning strike created a hole in the roof that ventilated most of the smoke from the home.

“There is some structural damage and some damages to the furnishings from smoke and water,” Viles said, adding that there will be months of cleanup.

Fire trucks remained on the scene for four hours to assist with salvage and overhaul efforts.

No injuries were reported in the fire.

“Overall, we were quite lucky,” Viles said. “No one was hurt.”


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