House blaze caused by storm

Tuesday, June 7, 2005 | 12:00 a.m. CDT; updated 11:39 p.m. CDT, Monday, July 21, 2008

Sunday morning’s storm started a fire that caused about $30,000 in damage when lightning struck the house on Glenn Wesley Court.

Homeowners Dwayne and Lois Baskett awoke about 3 a.m. to a loud “thump” that activated their bedroom fire alarm. The alarm sounded for a few seconds and then stopped. While investigating, Dwayne smelled smoke in an upstairs computer room above the garage.

“I couldn’t see anything, but I thought I smelled smoke,” he said.

Baskett walked downstairs to the garage while his wife remained in the bedroom consoling their Yorkshire terrier, Molly.

“I opened the door, and as I did, the smoke just rolled at me,” Baskett said. “I could feel the heat.”

Baskett told his wife to go to the neighbors’ residence and call 911 on her cell phone.

The Columbia Fire Department was dispatched at 3:07 a.m. and took almost nine minutes to respond to the call.

Battalion Chief Steven Sapp called it a “fairly long response time.”

Sapp said the call’s late hour and the distance from the location were reasons for the response time. The residence is west of Scott Boulevard, near Rollins Road. Fire Station 6 on Chapel Hill Road responded first to the call. Station 1, on Orr Street, and Station 2, on West Worley Street, also responded.

While waiting for the Fire Department to arrive, Baskett broke the side window of the garage and used a garden hose to douse the fire.

“This is not something we often recommend,” Sapp said. “He was able to control the fire, not extinguish it.”

Baskett said his role in controlling the fire was larger.

“They were telling my wife to tell me to get away and not to do anything, but by doing so, I saved the house,” he said. “The fire was almost out by the time the Fire Department got here.”

The garage sustained fire and smoke damage, and the house sustained smoke damage. A 2003 Toyota Camry was moderately damaged as well, Sapp said.

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