Lightning strike causes house fire in eastern Henrico

By Tara Morgan - bio | email

HENRICO, VA (WWBT) - A lightning strike is to blame for a house fire in eastern Henrico County. An elderly woman and her granddaughter were inside when smoke started filling the home on Old Williamsburg Road in Sandston.

Fire officials say the alarm sounded at the fire station right as the lightning storm was passing over eastern Henrico. A different alarm going off inside the house saved the women's lives.

Kristina Capehart ran to her neighbors house the second she heard what was a frightening sound.

"I heard a big boom and it scared me real bad," said Kristina Capehart.

Her 19-year-old friend was standing in the rain crying and the girl's grandmother was still on the front porch.

"It was just hard to see that and look at her house and her room caught on fire, and everything is just gone," said Capehart.

Henrico fire officials say there were several reports of lightning strikes at the height of the storm but only one sparked a fire just before 7 p.m. at a home on Old Williamsburg Road.

"The alarm time did coincide with the worst part of the storm in the eastern Henrico area," said Battalion Chief Russell Martin.

The two women were on the first floor. They too heard an alarm and got out.

"Family noticed some strange electrical activity and was fortunately alerted by an operating smoke detector on the second floor," said Martin.

As firefighters doused the flames, Kristina and Shannon Capehart comforted the women.

"Got her grandmother away from the front porch and to my house to safety," said Shannon Capehart.

Capehart says the grandmother is in her 90's and has called this place home since the 30's. Fire officials say she won't be able to return home on this night because of smoke and heat damage. Friends say it could be several days before the family can begin to pick up the pieces.

"Craziest thing of the summer 2010, I'll tell you that," said Kristina Capehart.

Neighbors say the family will be staying with relatives and will likely get some assistance from the Red Cross.

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