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By Carmen Ensinger
A Carrollton family lost their brand new home just weeks before they were scheduled to move in after lightning struck the home Thursday afternoon.
Carrollton Fire Protection District was called to the home being built by Rodney and Tiffany Flowers, located in the 300 block of Jameson Road, approximately 1 mile north of Carrollton on Rt. 67 at approximately 3:30 p.m.
“Rodney was at the home on the back porch when the lightning struck,” Carrollton Fire Protection District Fireman Jim Banghart said. “He heard a loud noise and waited about a minute or so and thought he smelled smoke and went to check on it and when he got there the end of the house was already all in flames.”
Banghart said by the time the first truck got there, the flames were already flaming up through the roof and that the structure was fully involved in less than 15 minutes after the lightning strike.
“The fire was really burning fast and there really wasn’t anything we could do,” Banghart said. “We called for mutual aid from White Hall and Greenfield to bring water because there were no fire hydrants anywhere near out there and we had to shuttle water in. Roodhouse even brought their tanker in.”
All in all, there were tankers from Carrollton, Eldred, Kane, White Hall, Roodhouse and Greenfield. Banghart estimates between all of them, they used approximately 30,000 gallons to put out the enormous fire.
When asked why he thought the fire spread so rapidly, Banghart said he really didn’t know other than lightning strikes have been known to travel down wires.
“Sometimes when lighting strikes a house, it will go through an entire house down the wire, not just one spot,” he said. “I’ve seen it follow the path of the wire. All we know is that this wire traveled really, really fast.”
Banghart said the structure wasn’t your typically constructed home.
“The house was a metal type building and had metal siding like a metal shed type building which made it a little hard to get to the fire,” Banghart said. “Because you can’t get behind that tine until you can pull it off by hand and it make it hard to fight. The roof was also metal, which holds the heat in as well.”
Banghart said even though there were sporadic episodes of heavy rain, the only thing that really hampered firefighters was the narrowly constructed gravel road that led back to the home.
“It was kind of a congested area for a lot of big trucks out there,” he said. “They had just made the road off the end of that subdivision out there and once we got back there with all the rain we had and all the water we put on the fire, if you got off the gravel, it got kind of soft and sloppy.”
Crews were on the scene of the fire until 7:30 p.m. that night and were sent back Friday morning where they spent a couple more hours putting out hot spots. No one was injured in the blaze.