A family of five escaped a West Phoenix home near 99th Avenue and Lower Buckeye Road that caught fire early today after a lightning strike.
Units from both Avondale and Tolleson fire departments responded to the call at approximately 5:15 a.m. today, officials said.
“There were five people in the home at the time, they said [the lightning strike] sounded like a big bang, it drew their attention so they could get out,” said Ron Deadman, a deputy fire chief and spokesman for Avondale Fire-Rescue. “The mother went outside, saw the smoke and fire and called 911.”
The fire was cleared at approximately 5:40 a.m., officials said.
While there is fire damage to the roof of the home, the rest of the house was unaffected by smoke, which is a good outcome considering the damage a lightning strike can do, Deadman added.
“There was not a lot of internal damage to the living area. Anytime you can isolate the fire to its area of origin, it benefits everyone tremendously,” he said. “It was a quick response, and a perfect set of circumstances. The morning was clear, so she could see the fire and smoke.”
According to the National Weather Association, lightning causes approximately 4,000 house fires every year.
With the Arizona monsoon, this time of year is more important than ever to remain aware of lightning strikes, Deadman warned.
“[Lightning strikes] do occur. As you know, the Yarnell fire started with a lightning strike. Lightning is not friendly to any of us,” he said. “This family was lucky because most people just think of [lighting] as a noise when it happens and go back to sleep, so this mother did a fine job.”
Rachel Trott can be reached by email at firstname.lastname@example.org or on Twitter @byracheltrott.