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updated: 4/17/2013 9:37 PM

Lightning likely cause in multiple Lake County fires

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Daily Herald staff report

Multiple fires that crews from the Countryside Fire Protection District responded to on Wednesday afternoon may have been caused by lightning, according to officials.

The fire that caused the most damage occurred around 12:24 p.m. on the 26700 block of Long Meadow Circle in Mundelein. Upon arrival, crews found the roof of a single-family, one-story home on fire.

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Firefighters attacked the fire from the inside until they noticed structural failure, which forced them to battle the fire from the outside. Everyone in the home evacuated before crews arrived.

The fire was under control in about 35 minutes. Damage was estimated to be around $500,000.

Battalion Chief Kevin Wodrich said the cause of the fire is still under investigation, but there were a lot of lightning strikes reported in the area of the home around that time, and the homeowner told officials she felt the lightning booms before the house caught on fire.

Just a few streets away, later in the afternoon, it appeared lightning struck in the yard of a home on the 20700 block of Red Pine Court, Wodrich said. He said the lightning tripped some breakers, but only left behind some odor in the house and didn't cause damage.

About 20 minutes before the fire on Long Meadow Circle, Countryside crews responded to a fire in Hawthorn Woods, where a lightning strike caused a small electric fire in a bedroom, Wodrich said. They also helped with a fire in Libertyville shortly before the Mundelein fire.

Libertyville Fire Department Assistant Chief Brian Conner said lighting struck Foulds Pasta at 520 E. Church St. around 12:11 p.m., causing a fire. All the workers evacuated and no injuries were reported. The fire was extinguished in about 25 minutes. Damage was contained to one area of the building, and Conner said it will not affect production.

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