Tuesday, August 18, 2009
LIGHTNING STRIKE STORY
Bob, here’s a photo of the damage. The fire was caused when the charge arced from copper plumbing and/or electrical to the gas line. Not sure which way that charge arced, but it blew a pin hole in the gas line and ignited. The flame ignited the framing. You can see the charred gas line and the burned romex. There’s a copper line running through it that looks to me like an arc point but it’s hard to tell.
My family saved the day! Kristin got shocked as she stood by a sink and knew there was trouble. They kept looking around and started to smell smoke. The boys pulled the attic access and found nothing. My 9 year old remembered another access by her room and whey they pulled that access they could see the fire. My son John grabbed fire extinguishers one after the other and he and Will put out the fire. It wasn’t known that the gas line was involved, it makes my heart stop to think about my boys up there putting that fire out with a gas line leak. We are very blessed that everyone is safe, that my kids knew what to do and did it, and that we didn’t lose the house. Lessons learned? Have fire extinguishers, lots of them. The boys think they used two, but there were three empty canisters up there. Also, store photos and videos in waterproof containers and by the front door. (Not the garage door. Garages are the #1 source of home fires.) I knew where all the family videos were but couldn’t relate that to my son, and when the attic access ladder was pulled down it blocked the closet doors that all the family photos are in. It was also directly under the fire and would have been ruined by water if the fire department had been required to put it out. We have already started the “what if” scenarios to be better prepared next time for things like this. The fire department was great, but it is concerning that they had a hard time finding us. The neighbors report seeing them wandering around at the Overlook Pass and Paraiso Pkwy intersection. They ended up down in the culdesac on Warbler Ledge even though there are large numbers on all the mailboxes. I’m going to call and see what we could do to help them zero in faster next time. We are pretty much put back together and the plumbing, electrical, and losses have been manageable. It is interesting that the DC transformers on items that were plugged in got zapped. Electronics, notebooks, AC unit, garage door openers, etc. All direct AC electronics were fine, but the transformers got nuked.