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Fire caused by a natural occurance - Lightning strike

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Damage to the roof

Damage to the roof

lighteningStrike_pic2.jpg

The lightning travelled through the internal wiring of the house

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Part of a ceiling fell away

Part of a ceiling fell away

How this fire happened

Lightning strike

The roof of a house was struck by lightning during a summer electrical storm, the force of the lightning bolt resulted in a hole in the tiled roof and felt, splitting the timber purling

There was approximately 2 square metres of fire damage to the roof and the shock wave from the impact caused a 3 square metre hole in a bedroom ceiling and loosened the remaining upstairs ceilings.

An electrical socket and TV aerial in the roof exploded and the current travelled through the property damaging the main fuse board.

The current damaged several electrical appliances and the occupier received an electric stock and was treated by firefighters before being taken to hospital by ambulance.

The effect it had

Safety message

Your home might not take a direct hit, but lightning and the power surge it may cause is still a destructive force.                       

Take some simple preventative steps to protect your family as well as your appliances and electronics during thunderstorms.                      

The safest place to be during a lightning storm is inside a relatively large, fully enclosed building (not a small shed or an open garage, for example).  

If lightning does strike the building, the charge will be carried through pipes and wiring into the ground, well away from the occupants.

Before a Storm

When indoors, we advise you follow these safety tips:

  • Be prepared, have a torch, battery powered radio and mobile phone charged and accessible.
  • Where possible park your car in the garage or away from tall trees, overhanging cables and buildings.
  • Unplug expensive electronic devices (televisions, computers, stereos, etc.) to help protect them.
  • Isolate TV's from aerials, satellite dishes and cables.

During a Storm

  • Do not use telephones, headphones or electrical appliances during the storm - lightning can travel through the wires and produce shocks to anyone using them. Mobile phones are safe to use during lightning storms because they are not physically connected to the wires.
  • Do not take a bath, shower or washing during a lightning storm, because water is a conductor and charges can be carried through metal pipes.
  • Stay away from windows, doors and exterior walls if at all possible.
  • Keep windows and doors closed during the storm.
  • Draw blinds and curtains over windows. If windows break due to the wind, the shades will prevent glass from shattering into your home.
  • Stay inside for 30 minutes after the last lightning strikes to ensure the storm has fully passed.

After the Storm

  • Check for fire in your attic and other hidden spaces immediately after a strike. A fire can spread quickly and silently before your smoke alarms notice it. A lightning rod properly grounded gives the electric blast an easy path to earth but your home may still suffer damage.
  • Avoid damaged trees and structures, they may be unsafe and fall.
  • Keep away from fallen power lines. Some wires will spark and snap, others do not, but both are dangerous.

Further information

Do you have a similar story?

Finally, we would be interested to hear from you if you have had a similar experience to the fire detailed above, or would like to raise any related matters or even just generally comment on how useful you found our Black Museum.

Please send us your details and a comments via our on-line feedback form.

Acknowledgement

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Latest Update :
03 February 2015
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