Lightning Damages Homes

One Colorado Springs family is out of their fire damaged home, possibly for months following a major thunderstorm last weekend.

Fire officials say the city has two or three cases of lightning causing a house fire every year. On average there are more than 27,000 cloud to ground lightning strikes every year in El Paso County.

“You can see the hole right here,” said Manny Hernandez pointing to a baseball sized hole in what was once a piece of his roof.

It is charred beyond repair, but Hernandez says he's going to keep it as a souvenir.

“The lightning came through this side of the vent,” he said.

It is where it all started: A fire that burned the top level of his home after a bolt of lightning hit the house's tallest point.

"It was like a big bang. It's like an explosion or something," said Manny’s daughter Fernanda.

It is the work of one storm. One storm that started a fire at Manny's house, another in Fountain, and yet another in Monument. It may seem like a high number, but authorities say it happens.
Especially when there is less open space between homes.

"More homes are being put up in areas where lightning possibly would strike normally. [It would] normally strike into wet earth, but now it’s striking houses," said Tri-Lakes/Monument Fire Captain John Vincent.

"We had a lot of cloud to ground strikes yesterday, again, this is the time of year for that," said Bret Waters, Colorado Springs Director of Emergency Management.

Waters said it's rare for a home to catch fire from a lightning strike, but residents should check for smoke if they suspect it’s been hit, and call for help.

"It's important just to get the authorities out right away," said Waters.

And Manny said while his house needs two to three months of work to get it back to the way it was before the lightning strike, he feels blessed to still have everything he needs.

"God has been so wonderful with us. Our family is alive, and no one was hurt. These things can be replaced."


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