Lightning ignites blazes at several Wake County homes

Posted July 23, 2012 8:18 p.m. EDT
Updated July 24, 2012 5:44 a.m. EDT

— Lightning sparked by heat-fueled afternoon storms ignited serious fires at two homes in Wake County Monday evening, authorities said. 

Five fire crews from various communities responded to a blaze at 504 Gooseberry Drive in Holly Springs, which spread to the house next door shortly after 8 p.m.

The house on the other side of 504 Gooseberry Drive suffered damage to its siding due to extreme heat from the fire.

Holly Springs Fire Chief Leroy Smith said crews worked a lightning-sparked fire at another home on Sunday night.

"It was bad. The Holly Springs Fire Department was stretched a little thin because there were a lot of calls in the area," Smith said.

An Apex home was also severely damaged by what appeared to be a lightning-related fire, authorities said. The fire started in the attic at a house on Hoboken Drive, near the intersection with Hasbrouck Drive in the Montclair subdivision.

In that fire, crews rescued a cat from a second-floor window.

No injuries were reported in either fire.

Wake County emergency dispatchers said they got about a dozen calls regarding lightning fires, including at a Midwood Drive outbuilding and houses on Legacy Oaks Drive and Hinton Oaks Drive.

With high temperatures forecast to reach 98 degrees on Tuesday, any afternoon thunderstorms that form will once again have the chance of becoming severe and producing more lightning, WRAL meteorologist Elizabeth Gardner said. 

"We'll likely see a repeat of what we saw Monday night on Tuesday," she said. "It's dangerous stuff, so anytime you hear thunder you are in danger of being struck by lightning."