Flash of destruction

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Al Key/DRC
Denton County Deputy Fire Marshalls Marc Dodd, left, and Laramie Vest take measurements Monday as they assess the damage to a house on Kildee Trail west of Sanger off FM455 that was destroyed by a lightning strike from Saturday's storms.
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Lightning strike sets house on fire during weekend storms

Recovery continues from weekend storms as anotherround gears up for mid-week, officials say.

Lightning struck a house in the 10000 block of Kildee Trail in Bolivar and set the roof on fire. No one was injured in the blaze, according to Lt. Casey Welborn of the Sanger Fire Department. 

The attic was fully involved when firefighters arrived. 

Units from Denton, Krum, Pilot Point, Ponder and Slidell also responded to the two-alarm fire. Most brought tankers as the neighborhood does not have sufficient water to fight fires, Welborn said. 

The first 911 call came at 7:28 p.m. by a neighbor arriving home, according to Marc Dodd, deputy fire marshal with Denton County Fire Marshal’s office.

“The family was driving down FM455, coming home, when the children, ages 14 and 10, saw a lightning bolt hit the house, and thenthe fire,” Dodd said. 

A neighbor across the street also saw the flash, Dodd said. Because his home once was struck by lightning, he stepped out to see what was going on after the power went out in his house. 

“That’s when he saw the house across the street was on fire,” Dodd said. 

The homeowners were home at the time of the lightning strike, but actually were the second call to 911. The couple went into the backyard to find a portion of their roof on the ground and the roof on fire,  Dodd said.

Homeowner Richard Pritchett said it took only a minute between the lightning strike and the time the attic was fully on fire. He and his wife were able to get out safely. In addition, firefighters were able to rescue the family cat, which Pritchett said was particularly skittish. 

“They lifted the sofa and brought him out,”Pritchett said.

The family has been touched by the amount of support that has come their way.

“People we don’t even know have stopped by to help,” Pritchett said. “We just want to thank everyone that’s come by.” 

Saturday night’s storms brought hail to several nearby counties, including Eastland, Comanche, Cooke, Jack, Parker and Wise counties. There were no reports of hail in Denton County, but quarter-sized hail was reported near Haslet, in Tarrant County, according to information gathered by the Storm Prediction Center in Norman, Okla. A total of 1.02 inches of rain fell at Denton Enterprise Airport on Saturday night. 

In Montague County, an individual was struck by lightning, according to Jason Dunn of the National Weather Service in Fort Worth. 

The storms weren’t uncharacteristically severe for this time of year, Dunn said. While people often think of spring as the time for severe weather in North Texas, more tornadoes have been reported over the past 50 years in October than all other months of the year, except April and May. 

Additional storms are expected when another strongs ystem comes through Wednesday, arriving sometime between the late morning and early afternoon, Dunn said. 

“They have the potential to be severe, with strong winds and hail,” Dunn said. 

Meteorologists will also be watching for the threat of very heavy rain. As happened in some areas Saturday, there also could be some urban flooding with the storms expected Wednesday, Dunn said. 

PEGGY HEINKEL-WOLFE can be reached at 940-566-6881and via Twitter at @phwolfeDRC.


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