CARMEL, Ind. - A Carmel family is without their home after firefighters believe a lightning strike started a fire in their attic. It was one of several fires possibly caused by lightning over the weekend in Hamilton County.
Neighbors said the Carmel home in the area of 126th & Hazel Dell went up in flames in minutes. Firefighters think a gas line may be the reason for that.
The fire tore through nearly every room. You could still smell the charred pieces from across the street. Firefighters were at the home in minutes but there was already so much damage.
"There were 15 to 20 foot flames from the roof an a majority of the roof was caved in at that point," said CFD firefighter Michael McNeely.
McNeely said gas lines can be like a blow torch in the attic. Since it is all above the ceiling, he said families will not even know the house is on fire a lot of times.
Three other homes in Hamilton County caught fire on Sunday. Two homes in the same Noblesville neighborhood caught fire within an hour of each other. The other house fire was in Zionsville.
When it comes to storms like the ones we had this weekend, firefighters said there are important things to remember. First, get outside immediately if you think lightning hit your home.
"Let us come in with our thermal cameras and thoroughly check your home to make sure there is not an issue that is going to show its head later," said McNeely.
Next, do not wait to call 911. It could be too late if you wait for smoke.
"Embers will smolder in the attic for minutes to sometimes hours and once the storm has passed in the middle of the night, those embers will get a breath of fresh air and start a fire at that point," he said.
The National Fire Protection Association also has some tips for lightning safety. The organization says to stay off electronics that are plugged in and anything that puts you in direct contact with plumbing, like washing your hands or taking a shower.