A lighting strike appears to have started a fire at a home on Royal Troon in east Oak Ridge during an intense storm Wednesday afternoon, causing an estimated $10,000 in damage, authorities said.
There were no injuries, but the homeowners will be relocated while repairs are made, Oak Ridge Fire Department Chief Darryl Kerley said.
The lightning strike occurred at about 2:24 p.m. Wednesday. It appears to have traveled into the home by either the electrical system or natural gas pipes, Kerley said.
“There was a loud thunder clap that shook the house, and the lights in the kitchen went off,” homeowner Carla Farmer told the ORFD. “Moments later, I noticed the smoke coming out of the vent and actually saw some flames also.”
The Fire Department said crews found smoke and fire coming from the foundation vents on the front corner of the home when they arrived. One crew entered the house and used a chain saw to cut open the living room floor and expose and extinguish the fire. Another crew turned off the natural gas meter and locked it and pulled the electrical meter to “secure the utilities.”
Kerley said several electrical circuits were tripped in the breaker panel and a small 1/8-inch hole in a natural gas line feeding the fireplace.
“We were unable to determine which occurred first, the electrical situation or the gas line rupture,” Kerley said. “However, the hole in the gas line accelerated the fire between the floor joists. This is what Ms. Farmer saw coming from her heat and air condition vent in the living room.”