Fire tied to lightning damages home

Jul. 28, 2014 @ 06:59 PM

Fire from a power surge caused by a lightning strike damaged a home Sunday at 1607 Homewood Ave., fire officials said. No one was hurt.

Firefighters were called at 1:41 p.m. to the one-story house, Deputy Chief Chris Iannuzzi of the Durham Fire Department said.

The homeowners met firefighters outside and told them that when they returned home, they opened the door and smelled smoke.  Firefighters found a bedroom had been destroyed by fire, but because the door had been closed, the fire was contained to that bedroom and was smothered due to lack of oxygen. 

Further investigation found the fire started in the crawl space and was caused by wiring around the hot water heater, Iannuzzi said. The fire burned a large hole in the floor which led to the fire in the bedroom. 

The fire in the crawl space also damaged a water line which acted like a sprinkler and extinguished the fire in the crawl space.  A power surge caused by a lightning strike on a pine tree near the house is believed to be the cause of the damaged wiring around the hot water heater, he said.

There were no injuries and Red Cross was not needed. 

Twenty-seven firefighters responded to the call, and several companies remained on scene for about one and a half hours.