Investigators: Lightning sparks house fire in Riga

Updated: 06/24/2014 11:10 PM
Created: 06/24/2014 6:57 PM WHEC.com
By: Amanda Ciavarri

Tuesday evening’s storms brought lots of rain, thunder and lightning to our area. Investigators believe that’s exactly what sparked a house fire on Palmer Road in the town of Riga Tuesday evening.

The family living there is without a home. The Town of Riga’s building inspector says it is unsafe and unlivable due to the damage of the fire. Crews tell News10NBC it was lightning that started the fire.

Helen Kuszlyk, neighbor, said, “We were having a thunderstorm and I heard a loud clap of thunder. I went to shut off my air conditioning and five minutes later, I saw all these fire trucks coming in.”

Kuszlyk says when she went outside, she saw a woman who lives in the home and was told the roof caught on fire.

Just before 5:00 p.m. Tuesday, multiple fire crews were called to the home in Riga. Thankfully, the two adults and two children inside at the time all made it out safely.

Charles Tytler, Clifton Fire Department Chief, said, “The house, right now, is not able to be lived in. It is damaged all through the whole rear and there is no roof in parts of the house.”

Crews say lightning hit the home. It was built just three years ago and we are told it did not have lightning rods.

Tytler said, “Usually, it is recommended that you have lightning rods on your house to help dissipate that energy down into the ground, instead of in your house, where it could cause a spark and cause a fire.”

The homeowners did not want to talk on camera.  An American Red Cross truck arrived at the house to offer assistance, as well as a number of community members showed up to help.


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