Lightning Fire That Caused Nearly $500,000 in Damage Caught on Video
No injuries in Sunday morning St. Peters house fire
St. Peters, MO (June 24, 2014) – At around 2 a.m. on Sunday, June 22 a resident of Woodmere Trail Ct. in unincorporated St. Charles County noticed that the home across the street was engulfed in flames and immediately called 911. When firefighters from Central County Fire & Rescue (CCFR), and the Cottleville Fire Protection District arrived on the scene at 109 Woodmere Trail Ct. they started a defense attack to control the flames, and douse the fire.
“Neighbors and a relative immediately informed us that the homeowners were out of town and that no one was in the house,” says CCFR Chief Russ Mason. “Once we confirm that everyone is safe, our biggest concern at a fire such as this one is protecting any other homes or buildings that may catch fire and keeping everyone safe during the extinguishment,” says Mason.
While working to find the cause of the fire, CCFR fire investigators interviewed neighbors who recalled a lighting strike that caused televisions and radios to turn off and on on their own at around 8 p.m. “Further research utilizing the National Lighting Strike database found that there had been four cloud to ground lightning strikes within one mile of the home, one of which was centered on the property where the fire occurred at 8:02 pm,” Mason said.
While interviewing neighbors, CCFR also discovered a video of the fire before firefighters arrived on the scene. “A neighbor kept a safe distance from the house and filmed the fire, which showed fire through the roof and coming out the windows of every floor,” says Mason.
“If there is a fire in your neighborhood it is important to immediately call 911, and stay away from the home and the fire. Never try to go into the burning house,” says Mason. Residents should also keep the street clear for emergency responders. If the fire is next door, residents should evacuate their homes and move away from the fire.
When lightning strikes a home it often causes the home to shake and the power to surge. If this happens, evacuate the home and call 911. “A lightning strike can cause a small, slow burning fire that may not be noticed right away. Our firefighters have special equipment that can determine if the strike caused a fire in one of the walls or ceilings before it spreads,” says Mason.
Lightning fires are difficult, if not impossible to prevent, but they are a good reminder of the importance of working smoke alarms on every level of a home, and near every bedroom. “Working smoke alarms can be the difference between life and death during a home fire,” says Mason.
Lightning is the most likely cause of the fire, which caused an estimated $487,000 in damage.
About Central County Fire & Rescue
The Central County Fire & Rescue (CCFR) District is one of the largest fire districts in Missouri, covering 72-square miles of St. Charles County, MO and a population of 90,000. A team of 82 firefighter/EMTs, fire inspectors and operational staff work together to keep the St. Peters and St. Charles, MO community safe. This well trained team operates six fire stations, seven days a week. A three member, citizen-elected Board of Directors, leads the District.
About Chief Russ Mason
In his 35-year fire service career Chief Russ Mason has responded to more than 2,000 fire related incidents, and determined the point of origin and cause of more than 900 fires. He has served as Chief of CCFR since 2003. He is the Vice-President of the Missouri Association of Fire Chiefs, and formerly served as the President of the Professional Fire and Fraud Investigators Association of Missouri, and Deputy Chief and Chief Investigator in Charge of the Criminal Investigation Unit for the Missouri Division of Fire Safety. He was one of ten national finalists for the 2012 Career Fire Chief of the Year.