09/21/05 — Lightning strike ignites fire that destroys home

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Lightning strike ignites fire that destroys home

By Jack Stephens
Published in News on September 21, 2005 1:56 PM

PIKEVILLE -- A large brick home at 101 Hawkins Drive near Vail Road was destroyed today after a predawn lightning strike triggered a fire, officials said.

The residents, Johnnie and Lynn Carr and their two children, managed to get outside safely but then watched their home go up in fire.

"We were behind when we got there," said Pikeville Volunteer Fire Chief Wesley Wooten, who lives less than two miles away. "It was fully involved. I could see it before we got there."

House at 101 Hawkins Drive

News-Argus/Kaye Nesbit

This house at 101 Hawkins Drive near Pikeville was struck by lightning before dawn today and was declared a total loss. The residents, Johnnie and Lynn Carr and their children, got outside safely.

More than 80 volunteer firefighters from five departments battled the blaze for about four hours before putting it out completely.

Wooten said lightning probably struck the 1.5-story home between 11 p.m. and midnight. He said the family did not detect anything until about 1:15 a.m. At first, Wooten said, they thought they heard mice in the attic and went to check on the noise. Later they noticed that the house was getting hot, the chief said, and the power was off.

"All the while, the fire was brewing up stairs above their heads," Wooten said.

Finally a smoke alarm sounded, and the family scrambled outside and called 911.

Twenty-four Pikeville firefighters responded. Wooten said the other four departments averaged about 15 volunteers.

Wooten said the blaze was fought with an exterior attack before the volunteers went inside. The fire was controlled, but the volunteers had to put out small pockets of fire until about 5:25 a.m. They left the scene at 6:14 a.m. after applying foam to the entire structure to prevent fire from starting again.

Wooten said the home and contents were valued at $300,000.

Another home at 1390 Old Grantham Road also was destroyed in a predawn blaze. The cause of the fire was undetermined, fire officials said today.