Lightning strikes spark house fires; one may be total loss

Lightning strikes spark house fires; one may be total loss
Carol Fowler (Source: Steven Richard, WAVE 3 News)
Carol Fowler (Source: Steven Richard, WAVE 3 News)
Middletown Fire Chief Jeffery Riddle (Source: Steven Richard, WAVE 3 News)
Middletown Fire Chief Jeffery Riddle (Source: Steven Richard, WAVE 3 News)
Jeffersontown Fire Asst. Chief Tom Darst (Source: Steven Richard, WAVE 3 News)
Jeffersontown Fire Asst. Chief Tom Darst (Source: Steven Richard, WAVE 3 News)

MIDDLETOWN, KY (WAVE) - As a retired emergency room nurse Carol Fowler has experienced nature's wrath and man-made trauma up close. Tuesday's lightning strike outside her front window on Charlton Wynde Drive, was too close.

"Biggest crack, pound - I ever heard in my life," Fowler said. "It scared me so bad. I was shaking."

Her neighborhood is four-and-one-half miles away from Meadow Farms Court in Lake Forest.

"But I can verify they heard a big boom shake their houses too," Middletown Fire Chief Jeffery Riddle said. "The power went out."

Neighbors didn't venture out. Fowler didn't have to; the strike's aftermath was directly in front of her.

"Big ball of fire and just whoosh," she exclaimed. "I run to the front, opened the door and smoke is billowing from this house over here."

Charlton Wynde Drive is home to duplexes. The upstairs back bedroom of Unit 138 had smoke rolling out of the dividing wall. That same wall also holds the gas and electrical lines.

"Utilities were secured so there was no additional threat," Jeffersontown Fire Asst. Chief Tom Darst. "We had enough to dealt with."

The owner wasn't home, as was the case on Meadow Farms Court. Timing may have made a huge difference, firefighters admitted.

"The neighbors here didn't see anything initially," Chief Riddle said. "When they saw the hole in the roof, they called. We were probably within two and a half miles of this location on another run so we got here fairly quickly with our units and it was already blowing fire out."

More than an hour later firefighters were still be knocking down hot spots.

The damage is repairable on Charlton Wynde Drive. Not so for the dream home in Lake Forest.

"They may be out a few days," Darst said. "They'll have to do some additional follow up with the utilities before they're allowed back in."

"Structurally, it's gonna be pretty much a loss," Riddle said. "There is some things that'll be salvageable.

Family heirlooms and photos; the property no insurance policy can replace. But the family escaped with the most valuable asset of all.

"Their lives," Riddle said. "As long as they're healthy and safe - that's the main thing."

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