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updated: 6/19/2014 5:08 PM

Lightning sparks house fire near Wheaton, causes near-miss for 3 firefighters

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  • A lightning strike triggered a house fire Wednesday night that officials said caused more than $500,000 damage and left the building uninhabitable.

      A lightning strike triggered a house fire Wednesday night that officials said caused more than $500,000 damage and left the building uninhabitable.
    Photo courtesy Shawn Hagemeyer

  • Three firefighters avoided serious injury Wednesday when lightning struck near a home where they were battling a blaze on a fire truck ladder.

      Three firefighters avoided serious injury Wednesday when lightning struck near a home where they were battling a blaze on a fire truck ladder.
    Photo courtesy Shawn Hagemeyer

 
 

Three firefighters were shocked by a nearby lightning strike but escaped serious injury Wednesday while battling a house fire outside Wheaton, authorities said.

Warrenville Fire Protection District crews responded about 7:25 p.m. to a report of a fire on the 2S300 block of Seneca Drive, Lt. Al Thompson said.

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Crews were immediately assisted by firefighters from Wheaton, who were investigating a call about smoke at nearby Wiesbrook Elementary School, Thompson said. They quickly determined the smoke was actually coming from the house on Seneca Drive, which authorities said had been struck by lightning.

Firefighters worked for about an hour to extinguish multiple fires in the attic, officials said.

At one point, lightning struck again nearby, shocking a firefighter who was climbing off the roof onto a ladder and two other firefighters who already were on the ladder, Thompson said.

"They had no visible injuries," Thompson said, but were taken to Central DuPage Hospital in Winfield for a precautionary evaluation.

The firefighters all were released and cleared to return to work, officials said.

The fire spread to other areas of the home, causing roughly $500,000 damage, according to a news release. Firefighters estimated about $100,000 worth of contents in the house also were destroyed.

Thompson said the house, which firefighters estimated had a value of about $1.2 million, is uninhabitable.

Lightning has struck other homes on the street, Thompson said, possibly due in part to the large size and height of many of the roofs.

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