Lightning may have sparked massive Petersburg fire - NBC12 - WWBT - Richmond, VA News On Your Side

Lightning may have sparked massive Petersburg fire

By Nicole Bell - bio | email
Posted by Terry Alexander - email

PETERSBURG, VA (WWBT) – There's new information on what may have caused a massive fire at a Petersburg warehouse.

The early morning blaze gutted the former Brown and Williamson Tobacco building in July. Now, insurance investigators say they have a good idea of what sparked the fire. 

Mother Nature is being blamed. Insurance investigators say they're confident a lightning strike started the fire.  

"Three lightning strikes struck within 50 feet of that building, if not on the building. So we've been led to believe that lightning strikes caused the fire. As a matter of fact the fire did start on the roof which is consistent with a lighting strike," said Tom Wilkinson, managing partner for Franklin Development.

Lightning could be seen in that area hours before the fire.

NBC12 meteorologist Andrew Freiden says it's not uncommon for lightning to hit a structure - simmer - then, grow into a full-fledged fire.

"It happens frequently that they'll be a lighting strike -- even on a house and the fire will smolder in the attic for a few hours, maybe overnight before the homeowners notice something is going on the next morning," said Freiden.

The Petersburg Fire Department has not announced a cause for the blaze. Fire investigators say they're waiting for lab results.

Meanwhile, the developer says work on the $100-million mixed use project is back on schedule. The building that took the brunt of the fire damage is expected to be complete within a year.  The developer says the damage could have been much worse if the fire department hadn't responded so quickly.

Copyright 2010 WWBT NBC12. All rights reserved.

  • Latest news from NBC12.comNEWSMore>>

  • GRTC wants your input on new bus stop near Science Museum

    GRTC wants your input on new bus stop near Science Museum

    Tuesday, June 19 2018 12:07 PM EDT2018-06-19 16:07:54 GMT
    GRTC wants your input on a new bus stop near the Science Museum. (Source: NBC12)GRTC wants your input on a new bus stop near the Science Museum. (Source: NBC12)

    The Pulse isn't the only new bus service coming to Richmond this Sunday. Residents will also have the option of trying out a new bus stop just off DMV Road near the Science Museum.

    More >>

    The Pulse isn't the only new bus service coming to Richmond this Sunday. Residents will also have the option of trying out a new bus stop just off DMV Road near the Science Museum.

    More >>
  • Free meals being offered to children this summer

    Free meals being offered to children this summer

    Tuesday, June 19 2018 11:38 AM EDT2018-06-19 15:38:25 GMT
    The meals are open to all children under the age of 18. (Source: File Photo)The meals are open to all children under the age of 18. (Source: File Photo)
    The meals are open to all children under the age of 18. (Source: File Photo)The meals are open to all children under the age of 18. (Source: File Photo)

    Petersburg City Public Schools is offering free meals to children 18 years old or younger. 

    More >>

    Petersburg City Public Schools is offering free meals to children 18 years old or younger. 

    More >>
  • Richmond Fire Dept. creates contingency plan to address understaffing

    Richmond Fire Dept. creates contingency plan to address understaffing

    Tuesday, June 19 2018 11:33 AM EDT2018-06-19 15:33:33 GMT
    The Richmond Fire Department is planning for days when it could be short by eight firefighters. (Source: NBC12)The Richmond Fire Department is planning for days when it could be short by eight firefighters. (Source: NBC12)

    With some unfilled vacancies, retirements and both scheduled and unscheduled leave expected in the near future, the department is preparing its operation for when there are as many as eight vacancies.

    More >>

    With some unfilled vacancies, retirements and both scheduled and unscheduled leave expected in the near future, the department is preparing its operation for when there are as many as eight vacancies.

    More >>
Powered by Frankly