Can Lightning Start a House Fire?
Lightning is the cause of a number of house fires every year. A lightning fire typically occurs when a hot flash strikes a combustible object or travels through conductive metal objects and then ignites combustibles. It is important to recognize the risks of a direct strike and a phenomenon called side flash in order to safely respond to a strike on or around your home. It is almost always a good idea to call the fire department if your home has been struck.
1. Direct strike: A direct hot strike can cause a fire, particularly if it makes contact with combustible material in or around your home. As soon as your home is struck, check for any signs of fire and contact the fire department from a cellular phone as soon as possible. Avoid using a landline in case current is traveling through the wiring. You can rest easy once you are sure that your residence is not running an elevated risk for lightning fire.
2. Side flash: This phenomenon occurs when a strike travels through conductive metal features such as downspouts, gutters, gas lines, water pipes, window frames, or wiring and then ignites combustible building materials such as insulation. Lightning does not require conductive objects to travel down to the ground, but if a side flash occurs, it may lead to hidden fires within the attic or walls of a house.
Whether a direct hot strike starts a fire or the transmission of current through materials in your home in the event of a side strike ends up igniting combustible materials, only the fire department can ensure that your home is safe. A hidden house fire can put homeowners at risk and cause extensive damage prior to being detected. If your home sustains damage from a lightning fire, contact a company that provides fire restoration services in Knoxville, TN. For more information, visit http://www.SERVPROwestknoxvillefarragut.com/.