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Fire destroys roof of home

NORCROSS - Lightning triggered a roof fire at a Norcross home Friday night during a powerful storm that wreaked havoc from Dacula to Duluth.

The incident marked the fifth Gwinnett County residential fire caused by lightning in as many hours Friday.

The fire burned the roof off a home on Williamsport Drive near East Jones Bridge Road occupied by four adults.

The occupants were not home at the time, and officials reported no injuries in the blaze. Firefighters were sent at 11:32 p.m. and had the fire controlled just after midnight.

"(The occupants) had arrangements already and did not need assistance," said Gwinnett County Fire Department spokesman Lt. Thomas Rutledge.

Investigators believe the fire originated from an earlier lightning strike and smoldered for several hours before breaking through the roof, Rutledge said.

Neighbors reported that lightning had struck a nearby transformer, knocking out power in the area.

The incident capped a difficult night for emergency responders across Gwinnett.

Over a two-hour span starting at about 6:30 p.m. Friday, firefighters were called to extinguish four other residential fires in Lawrenceville, Norcross, Dacula and Snellville.

That was in addition to a flurry of calls reporting minor structural fires, downed wires, grass fires and auto accidents caused by torrential rain, wind, lightning and hail.

Despite the elements, no injuries were reported, Rutledge said.