A lightning strike started a fire that burned down a newly constructed home in the Eagle Lakes subdivision off Old Kings Road in the early morning hours of July 31, just hours before someone was scheduled to close on it.
"This one was definitely a confirmed lightning strike," Flagler County Fire Chief Don Petito said. "They were going to be closing on that house in nine hours — nine hours from the time the house caught on fire, they were going to close on it."
Three engines, a ladder truck and a rescue were dispatched after someone reported the fire at around 4 a.m., and firefighters arrived and found the home on Lakeside Place fully involved, with fire throughout the house. The Flagler Beach Fire Department and Palm Coast Fire Department also responded.
There were no injuries, since the home was unoccupied. But the house, a wood frame building, was a total loss.
"The roof is caved in, the walls are ready to fall in; they’re going to have to demolish the whole thing," Petito said.
The area around the chimney was charred, he said, and a fire investigator determined that a lightning strike started the fire.
"In the state of Florida, a lot of fires are caused by lightning strikes," Petito said. Lightning often causes brush fires, he added, but it also strikes homes and starts structure fires.
Residents concerned about lightning strikes can look into adding home lightning suppression systems, he said.
Lightning also hit a home in Palm Coast's C-Section, according to Palm Coast Fire Chief Mike Beadle. "There was no smoke or anything visible" when firefighters arrived, he said, but there was some charring around the main breaker in the home's garage.
"If people are in doubt, they think they got struck, just call 9-1-1 and they'll send us out," he said.