For the second time in as many days, a lightning strike started a fire and destroyed a Chatham County house. It happened Sunday morning in Larchmont Estates near Highway 17.
Timamu Hakim heard a loud noise, then saw smoke and flames coming from his neighbor's house. Without a thought for his own safety, he ran across the street and went inside. After realizing no one was home, he looked up and saw flames ripping through the ceiling.
"That's when I came out and I tried to get a garden hose from the neighbor's house next door and it didn't help," explains Hakim. "It's just sad."
Hakim could only watch as the house went up in flames. Firefighters fought the fire from every angle, but it wouldn't go out. "One of the concerns we had was electricity popping though out the house, so it took a little while to get the fire down," says Southside assistant fire chief Hugh Futrell.
Neighbors say they heard an explosion. It was actually a bolt of lightning that hit a tree, then traveled down to the roof of the house. Fortunately, the family members who lived there were at church at the time.
Lightning strikes are rare, but not unheard of in the summertime. On Saturday, a home in Laurelwood was struck by lightning. The fire caused about $25,000 in damage. "Just in the last couple of days with the storms we've had coming through, we've had two lightning strikes on houses," says Futrell, "so it's unusual, but it's not common."
The fire at the Larchmont Estates home left a huge hole in the roof of the home. The Southside Fire Department estimates the damage at about $30,000.