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No injuries, but damage in Tuesday incidents.
By David Leone
WAKE FOREST — Lightning appears to have struck twice in 15 minutes early Tuesday morning on opposite sides of town, starting two fires.
No one was injured in either case, though the closeness of the strikes and other calls had area firefighters on the run.
Just before 1 a.m., lightning struck a house at 6105 Clapton Drive in the Northhampton subdivision, Wake Forest Fire Chief Ron Early said.
Lightning can strike anywhere on a residence, but will often hit electrical wiring or metal pipes. This time, the lightning struck electrical wires leading to a front upstairs bedroom and setting it afire.
A crew from Wake Forest Fire Department Engine No. 3 arrived first, finding heavy smoke and fire contained to the bedroom. Working quickly, they kept the fire from spreading to the rest of the residence.
Other Wake Forest and Rolesville engines arrived to assist. The family of four was safely evacuated.
While crews were battling that fire a second lightning strike sparked a fire at 112 Trifle Lane off Thompson Mill Road west of Wake Forest town limits.
Stony Hill firefighters were first to arrive, finding the rear portion of the roof and part of the third floor on fire, according to Stony Hill Fire Chief A.C. Rich.
Lightning is suspected and the cause is under investigation.
The family living there were home when the fire broke out, Rich said.
“As we understand they heard a loud ‘Boom!’ and began investigating and saw there was a fire,” Rich described.
Stony Hill was assisted by engines from Wake Forest, Bay Leaf and New Hope fire departments.
The house is in a rural area without hydrants, so the firefighters on the scene used a drop tank resembling an inflatable pool at the nearest intersection, Rich said. That pool was constantly refilled by fire department tankers that drove to the nearest hydrants and back.
“This was a really good cooperative effort,” Rich said. “We had enough assistance and enough water.”
The fire damaged several floors and there is also smoke and water damage throughout, but no one was hurt, Rich confirmed.
It was a busy night for firefighters.
“We actually had four structure fire [calls] go out in a 15 minute period,” due to the storm conditions that night, Early said. “Two were actual fires. The other two were scares or reports of the smell of smoke.”
Firefighters couldn’t find the source of smoke in those cases, Early said.
The mutual aid agreements were used to maximum effect Tuesday.
“It was a scary night. It was a pretty bad storm, a lot of lighting,” Early said. “It taxes the system, but the system is designed [so] if our trucks are on one call, the next closest unit is pulled.”
Added Rich, “The fire departments that responded have a really good working relationship. That contributes to the overall fire service delivery that we have. I’m very appreciative of the relationships that we have.”