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Fire & Water - Cleanup & Restoration

Can Lightning Cause a House Fire?

5/9/2018 (Permalink)

Fire Damage Can Lightning Cause a House Fire? Contact a damage restoration service in Anaheim, CA, if your home becomes damaged by a lightning fire.

Can Lightning Cause a House Fire?

Fire departments respond to over 20,000 fires caused by lightning every year. This weather phenomenon caused as much as $451 million in property damage every year between 2007 and 2011. Different types of flashes pose varying levels of lightning fire risk. Flashes may consist of

• One or more leaders
• Return strokes
• Return strokes and continuing current

A flash may be considered either hot or cold, depending on the type of current.

• A hot flash has continuing current and illuminates with varying levels of brightness. An object struck by a hot flash may heat and ignite.
• A cold flash has return strokes and tends to flicker
• Other flashes combine return strokes and continuing current

Flashes travel through air and do not require conductive objects, but the following conductors facilitate the trip from the clouds down to the ground.

• Downspouts and gutters
• Electrical wiring
• Gas lines
• Phone, cable TV, or internet wiring
• Water pipes
• Window frames

A flash may travel down more than one conductive path or jump through the air to a path with better grounding. This phenomenon, known as side flash, may ignite flammable building materials or increase the risk of fire along electrical circuits. A hidden house fire within the attic, roof, or walls is the major lightning fire risk. Contact a fire department after a direct strike using a cell phone or non-wired device.

Strikes also pose a risk of close-range shock wave damage. The same conditions that cause thunder may

• Blow out plaster walls
• Cause shrapnel damage
• Crack foundations
• Damage chimneys
• Fracture brick, cinderblock, concrete, or stone
• Shatter glass
• Make soil trenches

If you live in a region with frequent strikes, you may want to have protection system installed in your home or add specialized coverage to your insurance policy. Contact a damage restoration service in Anaheim, CA, if your home becomes damaged by a lightning fire. For more information, visit http://www.SERVPROanaheimwest.com/

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