Lightning damages homes as Sunday’s summer storms keep first responders busy

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By Tracy Harris

Lightning struck at least four Oldham County homes as strong thunderstorms moved through the area Sunday evening.

Crews from all six local fire departments responded to lightning strikes between 8 and 10:30 p.m. at locations across the county.

Only one lightning strike resulted in a serious fire, according to officials.

That fire began around 10 p.m. in Paramount Estates, where crews from the North Oldham, Westport and Harrods Creek fire departments responded to a three-story home where the basement caught fire.

A neighbor witnessed lightning strike a home on Paramount Way and called 911, according to Don Dahl, assistant chief of North Oldham Fire Department.

Dahl said crews quickly extinguished the fire but the basement location made it difficult to ventilate the heavy smoke.

The lightning followed a utility line into the basement. 

Dahl said electrical, gas, telephone, cable and alarm system lines are all possible conduits for lightning.

The homeowners were out of town, Dahl said, and no one in the home.

NOFD also responded to a lightning strike at 8:30 p.m. on Briar Gate Road. 

Dahl said crews did not find a fire but reset an electrical breaker that lightning had tripped.

Crews from South Oldham Fire responded to two lightning strikes.

The first, around 9 p.m., struck a two-story yellow house on Ky. 146 near the South Oldham Government Center.

SOFD spokesman Kevin Parker said the first incident was the more concerning of the two. 

Crews could see smoke from the lightning strike when they arrived, but no real fire, Parker said.

While at the scene, the department received a second call to Meadowstream Way around 9:40 p.m.. 

Crews from Pewee Valley also responded and found damage to appliances but no fire.

Crews from La Grange Fire and Rescue responded to three calls of live electrical wires down near or on houses but no fires or injuries were reported. 

Parker said residents should be cautious during summer thunderstorms and should call 911 if they believe lightning has struck. 

Lightning often sets fires in attics or basements, he said, and can burn unnoticed for hours before becoming serious.