(Steve Miller/Maricopa360.com) August 15,2012 — Kudos to Maricoapa Firefighters for braving this mornings’ thunderstorm to save the home of a Maricopa family. Apparently it was lightning that struck the home on the 17000 block of North Smith drive.
According to reports, the family was awakened to the loud crash of thunder early this morning and called 911 before evacuating the house. Firefighters responded quickly and were able to extinguish the flames coming from the roof of the structure. The family and their pets were not injured but the home is going to need some definite repairs to the roof.
Lightning doesn’t have to directly strike a home to cause a fire. It can enter a home through any kind of wiring — cable TV, electric or phone lines — unless the home has a lightning-protection system. It also will travel through plumbing pipes and water. When the cold water pipe has been used as a ground, lightning has been known to melt the solder on copper water pipes causing instant, multiple water leaks.
Direct lightning strikes are rare. They are somewhat better than your chance of winning the Powerball lottery, but nevertheless rare. Even so, there were damage claims from 185,789 lightning strikes to U.S. homes and the cost was almost $800 million in 2008, according to the Insurance Information Institute.
Lightning is dangerous, too. It kills over 50 people yearly in the U.S.
Photos by Howard WaGGner, Maricopa360.com.