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updated: 3/20/2011 11:05 PM

Lightning sparks four house fires

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Lightning bolts during Sunday's thunderstorm started four roof fires across the Northwest suburbs including one blaze that left a Crystal Lake home at a complete loss.

Separate strikes sparked fires at residences in Crystal Lake, Palatine, St. Charles and near Lake Barrington, but no one was injured.

The first bolt struck the roof of a two-story home in St. Charles just after 11 a.m. on the 0-99 block of Westwood Lane. All of the occupants were able to escape safely, but the fire caused an estimated $30,000 in damage, according to the St. Charles Fire Department.

The second fire broke out on the roof of a Palatine home about four hours later.

A couple saw smoke out their window at around 3:15 p.m. and called 911, said Palatine Batallion Chief Patrick Gratzianna.

"Residents were telling us they felt and heard the loud boom of the lightning as it struck their house," Gratzianna said.

There was extensive fire damage in the attic of the house on the 100 block of West King Arthur Court, but the home remains livable, fire officials said.

The most damaging strike hit an attached garage of a two-story Crystal Lake house at around 3:42 p.m.

By the time firefighters arrived, the garage was up in flames and the fire had begun to extend to the house on the 5900 block of Marietta Drive near the intersection of Routes 176 and 31, according to the Crystal Lake Fire Rescue Department.

It took firefighters nearly two hours to bring it under control, but by that time the home was destroyed. Crews struggled to put out the fire because of a lack of water. There were no fire hydrants in the area, according to the fire department.

Officials estimated the damages to be in excess of $200,000.

A fourth strike started the roof of a large three-story house near Lake Barrington on fire just after 4 p.m.

The Cary Fire Protection District responded to the fire and found the third floor attic and a second floor room on fire, said Lt. Michael Douglass.

"The homeowners were in the house. They heard the strike," he said. "The next door neighbors saw the strike and called it in."

Douglass said the residents were displaced from their home on the 38800 block of Fox Street and are staying with family in the area.

"It had the potential to be a very bad fire," he said. "Our first two crews in probably saved this house."

A damage estimate was not available Sunday night.