Does Lightning Cause House Fires?
Stormhighway.com has a great resource regarding what happens when lightning hits a house. As summer storms are in full swing, we wanted to make sure to share what you should do if your home is hit by lightning!
If you know your house has just been hit directly by lightning, call the fire department. It is common for lightning to start fires in the attic and within walls of homes. These fires inside enclosed spaces may not be visible in their beginning stages.
Lightning presents three main hazards to a house that is hit directly:
- Fire danger: The biggest danger lightning poses to a house is fire. Wood and other flammable building materials can easily be ignited anywhere an exposed lightning channel comes in contact with (or passes through) them. It is most common for lightning to start a fire in the attic or roof of a house, as the channel usually has to pass through some of the structural material in the roof before it can reach a more conductive path such as wiring or pipes. When lightning current travels through wires, it will commonly burn them up - presenting a fire ingition hazard anywhere along the affected circuits.
- Power surge damage: If lightning chooses any of the home's electrical wiring as its primary or secondary path, the explosive surge can damage even non-electronic appliances that are connected. Even if most of the lightning current takes other paths to ground, the home's electrical system will experience enough of a surge to cause potentially significant damage to anything connected to it, electronics in particular.
- Shock wave damage: Another major source of damage from lightning is produced from the explosive shock wave. The shock waves that lightning create is what produces the thunder that we hear, and at close range, these waves can be destructive. Lightning can easily fracture concrete, brick, cinderblock and stone. Brick and stone chimneys are commonly damaged severely by lightning. Lightning's shock waves can blow out plaster walls, shatter glass, create trenches in soil and crack foundations. Shrapnel is a common secondary damage effect, with objects sometimes found embedded in walls!
For additional information regarding lightning and house fires, check out their blog post by clicking here.
Stay safe friends!
SERVPRO of Lee County is locally owned and operated, so we’re already close by and ready to respond immediately when you need us. We make disaster "Like it never even happened." Give us a call today at (334)-821-4858!