Lightning sparks house fire, Tips to protect your property

COLONIAL HEIGHTS, VA (WWBT) - Firefighters are seeing a surge in fires sparked by lightning strikes.

The most recent one happened Monday night in the 1300 block of Whitehall Drive in Colonial Heights and the damage is devastating.

Several of the walls in Alvis Beazley's bedroom are gone. There's insulation sagging from the ceiling.

It was around 11:00 p.m. Monday night when Beazley heard a "boom."

"It just sounded like dynamite going off," said Beazley.

Beazley was in the living room and didn't notice anything out of place until her neighbors knocked out the door screaming fire.

"I didn't know it was on fire because it was all in this wall here," said Beazley.

Lightning hit the roof of her home sparking the blaze.

It's something we've seen several times within the last month including damage done to a home in Prince George County.  A few miles away, another house was completely destroyed. And just over a week ago in Dinwiddie yet another home was devoured by fire and lightning was to blame.

There are things you can do to help protect your home against lightning strikes including, installing a grounding rod or a lightning rod.

Lightning rods sit on top of your home or business. Should lightning strike near your property it would be drawn to the rod  and provide a path to the ground instead of through your house and its wiring.

The fire marshal for Colonial Heights, Lt. Joe Boisseau,  stresses having an updated electrical system and the importance of using surge protectors for your appliances.

"If there's a lightning strike or spike in electrical current it prevents it from coming back into your appliances, so it would hopefully protect your expensive TV, DVD, microwave," said Boisseau.

Back at Beazley's home she's grateful she's safe.

Beazley has homeowners insurance. Fire investigators suggest all homeowners and renters have it just in case the unexpected becomes a reality.

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