Lightning strike cited as probable cause of home fire

Friday, July 14, 2006 | 12:00 a.m. CDT; updated 1:37 a.m. CST, Tuesday, February 24, 2009


A fire from an apparent lightning strike left a home damaged Thursday night as severe weather rolled through central Missouri.


Columbia firefighters responded to the home of Kevin Johnson at 810 Oak Lawn Drive just past 10 p.m. after he called and said there was fire in the master bedroom of his home.


Gary Warren, battalion chief for the Columbia Fire Department, said the cause of the fire and a dollar amount in damage had not been determined.


“I wouldn’t want to speculate on that because I’ve only seen the master bedroom,” Warren said. He said the damage from smoke and water would also have to be accounted before any damage estimate could be offered.


Neighbors said they believed the fire was caused by a lightening strike which took place at 9:55 p.m. and knocked out electricity in some homes along the street.


Leon Jovanovic, 67, said Johnson came across the street to check on and make sure everything was alright at Jovanovic’s home. He said he told Johnson that the strike had shorted out his home security system, causing a panel on his wall to begin smoking.


“I told him that I knew it had hit close, and then I told him that he’d better go check it out at his place,” Jovanovic said.


Jovanovic said Johnson returned after discovering the fire and called the fire department.

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