Lightning strike suspected in Park Ridge attic fire
Updated: September 10, 2012 12:46PM
PARK RIDGE — A lightning strike is suspected of starting a fire in the attic of a two-story Park Ridge home during a weekend storm.
The fire was reported at 5:12 p.m. Aug. 4 at 110 N. Home Ave. Deputy Fire Chief Jeff Sorensen said a neighbor noticed smoke coming from the roof of the house and alerted the three people inside, who exited safely before the arrival of firefighters.
Sorensen said evidence that lightning struck a tree on a next-door neighbor’s parkway tree and ruptured a gas line led fire investigators to believe the cause of the house fire was related.
“There’s still some work to be done and they are looking at different electrical components, different aspects of the house, but right now we think it was lightning,” Sorensen said.
Because there was no visible sign that lightning directly struck the roof it is possible that the electrical current traveled through underground utility lines and up to the attic area, Sorensen said.
Several neighbors had reportedly exited their homes upon hearing a loud clap of thunder and that is when the fire was discovered. The homeowner was inside with two guests, and three other family members were out of town at the time, Sorensen said.
The fire was confined to the attic, which required firefighters to cut several holes in the roof and the second-floor ceiling. Damage to the house and contents was largely caused by water and smoke, Sorensen said.
Firefighters from surrounding communities assisted the Park Ridge Fire Department at the scene and by covering several emergency medical calls not related to the storm. The Des Plaines and Rosemont Fire Departments, along with the North Maine Fire Protection District, responded to the initial call along with Park Ridge fire crews.
During the storm firefighters also responded to a report of lightning striking the chimney of a home at 1248 N. Hamlin Ave. A gas leak also occurred at the home, Sorensen said.