Lightning rarely sparks blazes like Barrington Hills mansion fire

  • An aerial view of the Barrington Hills house on Paganica Drive severely damaged by an early morning fire Thursday. Officials believe lightning from overnight storms may have sparked the blaze.

    An aerial view of the Barrington Hills house on Paganica Drive severely damaged by an early morning fire Thursday. Officials believe lightning from overnight storms may have sparked the blaze. Courtesy of ABC 7 Chicago

  • Firefighters apply water to the smoldering remains of a Barrington Hills home after an early-morning fire Thursday that may have been caused by a lightning strike. No injuries were reported.

      Firefighters apply water to the smoldering remains of a Barrington Hills home after an early-morning fire Thursday that may have been caused by a lightning strike. No injuries were reported. Joe Lewnard | Staff Photographer

  • Firefighters from about 20 area departments battled a blaze on Paganica Drive in Barrington Hills early Thursday morning. No injuries were reported.

      Firefighters from about 20 area departments battled a blaze on Paganica Drive in Barrington Hills early Thursday morning. No injuries were reported. Joe Lewnard | Staff Photographer

  • A lightning strike may be to blame for a house fire on Paganica Drive in Barrington Hills early Thursday morning, authorities said.

      A lightning strike may be to blame for a house fire on Paganica Drive in Barrington Hills early Thursday morning, authorities said. Joe Lewnard | Staff Photographer

  • An aerial view of the house fire on Paganica Drive in Barrington Hills Thursday morning.

    An aerial view of the house fire on Paganica Drive in Barrington Hills Thursday morning. courtesy of ABC 7 Chicago

  • An aerial view of the house fire on Paganica Drive in Barrington Hills Thursday morning.

    An aerial view of the house fire on Paganica Drive in Barrington Hills Thursday morning. courtesy of ABC 7 Chicago

  • Members of the Fox River Grove fire department spray water onto the remains of a Barrington Hills home severely damaged in an early-morning fire that may have been started by a lightning strike early Thursday.

      Members of the Fox River Grove fire department spray water onto the remains of a Barrington Hills home severely damaged in an early-morning fire that may have been started by a lightning strike early Thursday. Joe Lewnard | Staff Photographer

  • Authorities suspect a lightning strike sparked an early-morning fire Thursday that tore through a Barrington Hills home. No injuries were reported.

      Authorities suspect a lightning strike sparked an early-morning fire Thursday that tore through a Barrington Hills home. No injuries were reported. Joe Lewnard | Staff Photographer

  • No injuries were reported Thursday after fire swept through a Barrington Hills home. Investigators believe a lightning strike may have sparked the blaze.

      No injuries were reported Thursday after fire swept through a Barrington Hills home. Investigators believe a lightning strike may have sparked the blaze. Joe Lewnard | Staff Photographer

  • Barrington Countryside Fire Protection District firefighters hose down the roof of a house on Paganica Drive in Barrington Hills Thursday morning, hours after responding to a fire there that might have been caused by an overnight lightning strike.

      Barrington Countryside Fire Protection District firefighters hose down the roof of a house on Paganica Drive in Barrington Hills Thursday morning, hours after responding to a fire there that might have been caused by an overnight lightning strike. Eric Peterson | Staff Photographer

 
 
Updated 5/3/2018 7:21 PM

Lightning may be to blame for a fire that tore through a nearly 9,000-square-foot Barrington Hills home after violent storms pushed through the region early Thursday morning.

If that's confirmed, it would put the blaze among the rarest categories of residential fires, according to national studies.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                       
 

According to a 2013 report by the National Fire Protection Association, lightning started an estimated average of 22,600 fires per year during the five-year period from 2007 through 2011.

While most of those fires occurred outdoors, the majority of deaths, injuries and property damage came from house fires, the report states.

Lightning-related fires are most common in June through August and during the late afternoon and evening hours, the NFPA found.

According to U.S. Fire Administration data from 2006 to 2015, about 1.6 percent of residential fires started as a result of "natural" causes. That includes lightning, as well as the sun's heat, spontaneous ignition, chemicals, static discharge, high winds, storms, animals and natural disasters. Cooking is by far the most common cause, accounting for just over half of residential fires nationally.

On Thursday, firefighters from the Barrington Countryside Fire Protection District and about 20 other departments spent roughly two hours getting the fire on Paganica Drive under control.

by signing up you agree to our terms of service
                                                                                                                                                                                                                       
 

A woman, who was the only person inside, escaped unharmed with her dog, Fire Chief Jim Kreher said. Her husband was out of town. No firefighters were injured battling the blaze.

Neighbors reported hearing a loud boom during the night, before firefighters were called to the scene about 4:40 a.m., when the homeowner spotted flames, Kreher said.

"We were here in less than five minutes and (the fire) was through the roof already," he said.

While most of the damage occurred to the roof, the house was left uninhabitable by the fire, officials said. A monetary estimate of the damage was not determined.

Because the neighborhood has no fire hydrants, firefighters set up a "rural fire operation" that involved bringing water to the scene in transport vehicles known as tenders, officials said. At no time was water supply lost, according to the fire district.

• Daily Herald staff writers Lee Filas and Chacour Koop contributed to this report.

0 Comments
                                                                                                                                                                                                                       
 
Article Comments ()
Guidelines: Keep it civil and on topic; no profanity, vulgarity, slurs or personal attacks. People who harass others or joke about tragedies will be blocked. If a comment violates these standards or our terms of service, click the X in the upper right corner of the comment box. To find our more, read our FAQ.