Lightning causes Friday morning house fire

Friday, June 13, 2008 | 4:20 p.m. CDT; updated 10:58 p.m. CDT, Monday, July 21, 2008

COLUMBIA — Columbia Fire Department investigators determined a lightning strike caused an early morning fire on Friday.

There were no injuries and damage is estimated at $10,000.

According to a news release from the Fire Department, homeowners Jim and Heather Zepp were awakened by a bright flash and an explosion that shook the house.

Jim Zepp alerted the Fire Department at 5:05 a.m. after he saw light smoke in the upper level of his home located at 3908 Citation Drive.

Upon arrival, fire crews found smoke coming from the attic of the home where several areas of smoldering material were discovered. The smoldering materials were quickly extinguished and removed from the home.

Vinyl siding was also removed to allow access to the attic.

Firefighters worked in heavy rain and high winds.

Damage to the exterior of the home and damage to some electrical components was consistent with a lightning strike fire.

Through the use of thermal imaging cameras, firefighters were able to ensure there were no hidden fires or hot spots remaining in the home.

Columbia Water and Light crews came to the house to verify there was no damage to the electrical meter base.

The Fire Department dispatched five vehicles and 18 personnel to the scene.

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