UPDATE: Several Henrico fires caused by lightning

By Ryan Nobles - bio | email
Posted by Shawn Maclauchlan


Thursday's thunderstorm caused major damage in Henrico County and lightning strikes have been determined to be the cause of three major fires.

The first fire was in the Reflections of West Creek Apartments in the West End. Fire crews made an aggressive interior attack, and limited the majority of the fire damage to one apartment.  Some apartments on the lower level sustained substantial water damage during firefighting operations.  There were no reported injuries either civilian or firefighter.

The second fire involved a single family residence and was located in the 600 block of Carrington Green Place.  The home was occupied at the time.  They heard a "pop" and as they were in the process of checking the house when they began to smell smoke, and a neighbor arrived informing them smoke was coming from the roof line. The house was a total loss.

The third fire was the Virginia Dental Association at 7525 Staples Mill Road.  It was reported by office workers that they heard a "boom" and felt the building shake. After the occupants had come out of the building, they saw smoke coming from the roof at the front left side of the building. A second alarm was called to bring more equipment and personnel to the scene to assist in the firefighting operation, but the damage was heavy and the building is a total loss.  There were no reported civilian or firefighter injuries.

Many neighborhoods in Henrico were hit hard by the storm. One West End neighborhood was hit particularly hard. The community behind Douglas Freeman High School saw its share of damage.

"I thought I was going to get electrocuted to be honest with you," said Kenny Irving.

The storm whipped through Irving's neighborhood near Three Chopt Road, tossing trees around like toys.

"A tree came down and the lines came down on [my] truck, sparks, I dove across the street. Dove over in the yard across the street," said Irving.

Irving and his truck were okay. It was a different situation for George Matthews on Camden Drive.

"We think a tornado came through," said Matthews.

Matthews left his living room for just a moment when his wife asked him to come see what was going on outside. Seconds later a tree came crashing through his roof, hitting directly where he was moments before.

"It's just a bad situation, I was so glad, lucky to be out of there," said Matthews.

While Matthews escaped harms way, Sloan Lynch walked right into it.

"As soon as I got in the car, I heard a big cracking noise and then the branch, the tree I guess fell on the car," said Lynch.

Lynch was hoping to avoid a wet front seat. She rushed out to her car as the winds kicked up to roll up her windows. The next thing she knew a big tree was lying on her hood.

There was minimal damage to her car, much different than the clean up ahead of Henry Quinn.

"I said 'oh my gosh!'"

A room in Quinn's home that contained an antique stove was destroyed when a tree came crashing down. The stove is a lost, but Quinn was able to keep things in perspective.

"I'm just glad we're alive and unharmed and its just gonna be money and time that's all," said Quinn.

A healthy attitude to have, especially with plenty of cleanup for the community ahead.

And many of the people we just introduced have lived in that neighborhood for a long time.

George Matthews - the man who now has a tree in his living room - has lived in his home for almost 50 years.

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