Did lightning strike spark house fire in Scottsdale?

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By Catherine Holland By Catherine Holland
By Catherine Holland By Catherine Holland
By Catherine Holland By Catherine Holland
By Catherine Holland By Catherine Holland
By Catherine Holland By Catherine Holland

SCOTTSDALE, Ariz. – Lightning might be to blame for an early morning house fire in North Scottsdale.

It happened in the neighborhood just southeast of Legacy Boulevard (north of Bell Road) and Pima Road.

One of the homeowners woke up at about 3 a.m. Wednesday because it was warm in the house and he smelled smoke. After finding the source of that smoke in the attic, he called 911 and hustled his wife outside to safety.

The power at the house had been out since about 6:30 p.m. Tuesday. That’s when the couple heard a loud boom of thunder and saw a bright flash of lightning. They immediately checked the house but did not see any damage or any signs of a fire.

Firefighters believe lightning might have hit the house, sparking a fire in the attic that smoldered for hours. Aerial video from the scene showed a hole in the roof that was likely cut by firefighters to vent the heat and smoke from the fire.

The homes in the community are clustered very close together so crews had serious concerns about the flames spreading. Several of the closest homes were evacuated as a precaution.

Some 60 firefighters were called out to the scene. Those crews were able to contain the flames to the attic of the one home, but it wasn’t easy.

“The concern with that [an attic fire] is that you’re working above your head,” explained Capt. Jim Welch of the Scottsdale Fire Department. “Anything that’s above you has the potential to come down on top of you at any point in time, especially given the lightweight construction of these houses.”

The homeowners escaped unharmed and no firefighters were hurt.

By 6 a.m., about three hours after the initial call, firefighters were mopping up the scene and checking for hot spots.

While initial reports indicate that lightning sparked the fire, investigators have been called out and will be on the scene most of the morning to determine if that’s what really happened.