Just one hour after a local family fixed their roof from hail damage, lightning struck, catching it on fire. But the family's quick thinking saved the rest of their home from burning.
Jeff Wells and his family feel like there is no stopping Mother Nature. The family had just patched up a part of their roof damaged by hail, when they heard the strike.
“Sounded like all the windows blew out upstairs,” said Wells.
The bolt of lightning struck a nearby tree, sending a current through their house, igniting their attic on fire. It ruined their roof for the second time.
“The roofers had been here and just finished replacing the roof an hour before lightning strikes,” said Wells.
But because they called for help when they heard the strike, it saved the rest of the house from burning.
Firefighters say if even if you are not sure your property was hit, have them check it out, because sometimes it can go undetected.
“It can smolder for hours and you may not even know about it,” said Lt. Greg Martinez, Colorado Springs Fire Department.
Martinez says that lightning can disperse in all directions. Sometimes it spreads the current from the ground up or the clouds down.
After you call for help, first check for smoke, then look around your house.
“See if your appliances are operating properly, any breakers are thrown in your house. Also check for physical damage to your home,” said Martinez.
If the current doesn’t start a fire, it could still cause damage.
“It will do a lot of damage to electronics to your home, it will even damage even plumbing appliances, hot water heaters,” said Martinez.
The father of two kids says he is still a little shaken up, but he encourages other families to be proactive.
“Anything you can do will save possibly the whole house,” said Wells.
Firefighters say while there is no real proven way to prevent lightning strikes, you can help protect your electronics by buying surge protectors.
And when fire investigators come check out your house after a possible lightning strike, they can assess minor damage to your house, something you may be able to claim with your insurance.
Fire officials also offered some other lightning safety tips:
-When thunder roars, go indoors: There is no safe placed outside when thunderstorms are in the area. The best way to protect yourself from lightning is to avoid the threat.
-Have a lightning safety plan, and cancel or postpone activities early if thunderstorms are expected.
-Substantial buildings and hard-topped vehicles are safe options. Rain shelters, small sheds and open vehicles are not safe.
-A safe building is one that is fully enclosed with a roof, walls and floor, and has plumbing or wiring. (Ex: home, school, church, shopping center)
-Unsafe buildings include car ports, open garages, covered patios, picnic shelters.
-A safe vehicle is any fully enclosed metal-topped vehicle such as a hard-topped car, minivan, bus, truck, etc.
-Don’t use electronic devices such as radio communications during a thunderstorm.
-If someone is struck by lightning they may need immediate medical attention. Lightning victims do not carry an electrical charge and are safe to touch.
-Call 911 and monitor the victim. Start CPR or use an Automated External Defibrillator if needed.
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