Lightning damages Louisville home, school - News, Weather & Sports

Lightning damages Louisville home, school

LOUISVILLE, KY (WAVE) - Severe weather will be with us all summer and the lightning we've had is causing some serious problems.

Across the country lightning brings an incredible number. In one 15 minute period Monday, NBC News reported more than 30,000 lightning strikes in the U.S. That number follows a deadly weekend and a dangerous past 24 hours in our area.

When lightning strikes, there's good reason for homeowners to be uneasy.

[SLIDESHOW: Mansion damaged by fire]

Early Monday morning emergency crews responded to a fire caused by lightning in the 4800 block of Paddock Springs Drive, in the Saratoga Springs subdivision.

Jeffersontown homeowner Shawn Ostertag said he watching a WAVE 3 Weather update with his daughter, then he walked outside to see a thunder and light show.

"I thought well, maybe it's a good idea to just go back in the house at this point because it seems like it was getting pretty dangerous," Ostertag said of the intense lightning.

He noticed what he described as a weird smell and then saw his neighbor's home on fire.

"There was a lot of smoke billowing out," Ostertag said. “My daughter says ‘good grief the house is on fire!’"

Twenty firefighters worked to put out the flames as the spread from the attic to the second floor causing quite a bit of damage. Luckily, the homeowners got out safely and no firefighters were hurt. Around the same time, Manual High School was hit. School officials said lightning toasted a decorative tower putting a 5’ by 5’ foot hole in the roof and damaging some classrooms.

In Lexington lightning was also blamed for causing two house.

Ostertag's real life neighborhood run-in with lightning has him a little on edge with the power of a storm.

"There was so much lightning coming down," he remembered, "And this is a fairly new area, so there's not much for lightning to hit other than a home."

Experts say you have to be careful even when lightning appears to be in the distance, it can actually be anywhere within five to 10 miles of a storm.

Since 2006, there have been 270 deaths nationwide. Nine of those deaths have come this year alone and two of them came this weekend as hikers were hit and killed in Rocky Mountain National Park.

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