Lightning strikes cause havoc
Okotoks: Fire damages home on Saturday morning
By: John Barlow
| Posted: Monday, Sep 09, 2013 02:28 pm
Lightning strikes had the Okotoks fire department hopping on Saturday.
A late morning storm rolled through Okotoks on Sept. 7 and lightning strikes caused four alarm calls almost simultaneously and flooding in Drake Landing forced the Okotoks fire crews to call in Heritage Pointe Fire Department for support.
Thankfully, three of the alarms were for only minor or no damage to buildings including the Okotoks Recreation Centre. However, a home on Cimarron Estates Link suffered significant damage.
Okotoks Fire Chief Ken Thevenot was the first on the scene at 3 Cimarron Estates Link and black smoke was billowing from the home.
He said the fire department received the alarm call at about 11:20 a.m. and crews were on scene quickly, which allowed them to keep the blaze under control.
However, Thevenot said it was a difficult fire to manage.
“With the humidity this fire was exhausting and the guys are exhausted,” he said as firefighters rotated through the home to check for any remaining hot spots. “The guys are fatigued, but they did a bang-up job.”
According to Thevenot it appears the lightning struck the roof of the home causing a fire inside the interior walls, which spread from the basement through the main floor up to the second story.
The exact cause of the fire cannot be confirmed until the investigation is complete.
The fire was difficult to extinguish because it was hidden within the walls and firefighters had “to chase” the fire ripping out walls, ceiling and floors to locate the flames.
“It is a hidden fire and that is a problem,” said Thevenot. “It took time to get through the floors and chimney to find the fire.”
Although it was a testy fire the firefighters had the blaze under control and extinguished within a couple of hours. As a result, the fire department was able to contain damage to the home to the southeast corner.
No one was home at the time of the fire, but fire crews were able to rescue to two dogs from the house, much to the relief of the homeowners Harvey and Brenda Anderson.
Harvey Anderson said they were at church at the time of the fire, but he received a call from his neighbour.
Anderson said he was relieved the fire department was able to minimize the damage and save his two dogs.
“I have good neighbours and a good fire department who kept me informed,” he said. “They saved my two dogs and that is the main thing. The rest can be cleaned or replaced.”
The other alarm calls on Saturday were for potential lightning strikes in Drake Landing and Downey Road, but there was no damage.