Lightning strikes tree, starts fireTree branches and scurrying firefighters were scattered on Seventh Avenue West in Dickinson after a lightning strike ignited the home of Mike and Rebecca Pitkin and damaged a large evergreen in their yard during a brief thunderstorm Tuesday morning.
By: Sean Soehren, The Dickinson Press
Tree branches and scurrying firefighters were scattered on Seventh Avenue West in Dickinson after a lightning strike ignited the home of Mike and Rebecca Pitkin and damaged a large evergreen in their yard during a brief thunderstorm Tuesday morning.
Dickinson Fire Department Fire Chief Robert Sivak said no one was in the home except the family pet, which was successfully rescued.
The lightning started the interior and exterior of the house on fire, Sivak said. He added the lightning strike blew off the top portion of the tree, scattering branches and debris that caused structural damage to the home.
“There is significant damage to one bedroom, smoke damage throughout the upper floor and electrical damage throughout the house,” Sivak said.
Joby Stewart said she was in her home across the street when the loud strike startled her. She said she noticed smoke coming from the house and called 911.
“I thought ‘Oh my God, I can’t believe it struck so close,’” she said.
The firefighting crew utilized two attack lines, two entry crews and multiple backup crews to extinguish the fire, Sivak said.
Mike Pitkin was notified at work and arrived on scene near the end of the fire. He was concerned about the damage.
“When you are driving over you are wondering what you are going to see,” he said. “Is it going to be a foundation smoldering or what?”
Sivak said the fire damaged furnishings and the wall in the bedroom.
The damage is significant enough to restrict the family from staying in their home.
Mike said the family might make temporary housing arrangements with church members or the Red Cross. He said hotels were also an option, but due to recent oil activity it may be hard to find vacancies.
Mike and Rebecca Pitkin were very grateful nobody was hurt.
“We are glad it is just stuff and not people,” Rebecca said.
Mike commended the work of the firefighters.
“They are just great,” he said. “You don’t know how much you appreciate them until you have to use them like this.”