Lightning strike destroys two Creekview houses
Camrose Fire Department volunteer firefighters battle a blaze on July 6 at 5210-36 Avenue that destroyed two homes under construction after one was hit by lightning early in the morning. Sean Mascaluk/ Pro Sports Photography
Two houses were destroyed by a lightning strike in the early morning of July 6.
The Camrose Fire Department responded to the call shortly after
5 a.m. to a fully involved fire in a house under construction at 5210-36 Avenue in Creekview. Shortly after the flames spread to the neighbouring house, also under construction.
The first house burnt to the ground while the second house was a write off. The damage is estimated at $500,000. After an investigation, the fire department ruled the fire was caused by a lightning strike.
“Lightning will strike wherever it needs to strike, and if it has an impact, it has an impact,” said fire chief Peter Krich.
Thirty-one volunteer firefighters responded to the call, the first structure fire of the year for the department.
There has been much made in recent years about fire codes that have allowed houses to be built closer together. Krich says those are balanced out by the type of construction that goes into houses and the materials used. Due to a few variables being in the construction stage, there was a lot more available air and fewer obstructions for the fire to burn through and it spread much more quickly than a normal fire leaving the department little chance to save the houses.
“This one is a different circumstance, when you have that much fire in one home, nothing is going to stop it from moving, it’s a lot of fire,” said Krich. “The close proximity is not a factor here, it was a large scale fire.”
Initially the fire was thought to be suspicious, but those concerns were quickly put to bed by the investigation.
Both houses were unoccupied and no one was hurt in the blaze. The department was on scene until
Krich says lightning strikes that cause fires are common, but they are usually in the forest, it is rare when a strike causes a structure fire.
There are preventative measures that are taken like the use of lightning rods in tall buildings, but there is no 100 per cent protection method.
“In the case of inside a city, it’s not a common thing to hit, but when it does hit, it does want to seek ground and it will take whatever path it needs to and it’s creating hear right through that path to the ground,” said Krich.