Lightning fire destroys house

LILBURN - A Lilburn family of four lost their home Friday night when a lightning bolt struck their house causing irreparable damage.

Neighbors called the Fire Department when they heard a loud crashing sound outside and saw flames erupting in the two story house at 2480 Meadow Grove Way. The heavy fire burned through the roof in the center of the building, said Thomas Rutledge, spokesman for the Gwinnett County Fire Department.

"Every room was affected by the heavy fire damage. The structure is a total loss. It is a complete loss," Rutledge said.

Though it only took firefighters six minutes to arrive at the scene, there was already heavy damage to the house. They were still dousing the hot spots at press time - three hours after the fire began. The roof had caved into the house.

It is unclear what will happen to the family - two adults and two children - after losing their home. For right now, Rutledge said the Fire Department contacted the American Red Cross to give them a place to stay. He did not know what would happen to them in the long term, and could not provide their names.

"It's definitely going to have to be rebuilt," Rutledge said.

The family was not home when the fire started. Nobody was injured, not even the family dog. A neighbor kicked through the door before firefighters arrived to take the animal to safety, according to Rutledge.

The thunderstorms kept firefighters busy.

"We've had multiple lightning strikes, we've had power lines down, so we've had a lot of activity going on," Rutledge said.

In Suwanee, a huge pine tree fell through a house at 2330 Pendleton Place, causing heavy damage. Nobody was home, and no injuries were reported.