The Advocate, Baton Rouge, La.
Sep. 1—A nearby lightning strike during Tuesday’s heavy thunderstorms caused a kitchen fire in the Daniel Drive home of an elderly Lafayette woman.
Lafayette firefighters were dispatched to the home in the 600 block of Daniel Drive after a call about a house fire around 4:46 p.m. Smoke was coming from the home when firefighters arrived and they discovered flames coming from a hot water heater closet in the kitchen. Firefighters were able to extinguish the fire within 10 minutes, Lafayette Fire spokesperson Alton Trahan said in a statement.
The kitchen sustained moderate fire damage.
The elderly homeowner was inside the house when the fire started. She told firefighters she heard a loud bang while it was raining then heard water spraying inside the home and smelled smoke. She called 911 and was able to escape without injury, Trahan said.
Neighbors reported hearing a lightning strike outside shortly before the fire broke out.
Investigators determined the fire was caused by an indirect lightning strike. Metal piping running to the hot water heater was energized by the strike and ignited combustible material, causing the fire. Investigators noted a tree in the backyard had been damaged by lightning, the statement said.
Firefighters responded to four other incidents involving possible lightning strikes during the afternoon thunderstorm, but none resulted in fires, Trahan said.
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