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Lightning causes Sunday house fire

LAWRENCEVILLE - Firefighters fought two early morning blazes Sunday that may have been caused by a thunderstorm.

Officials confirmed that a house fire, reported at

5:45 a.m., was caused by a lightning strike.

A neighbor called 911, after hearing a thunder clap and seeing a thunder bolt and then smoke coming from the roof of 3497 Aberone Place in Buford.

A man who lived at the house awoke to the sound of thunder, then his smoke alarm, said Capt. Thomas Rutledge of the Gwinnett County Fire Department.

Firefighters began an offensive attack on the fire, but were forced out quickly, Rutledge said.

The fire caused heavy damage to the roof, attic and second floor of the 4,500-square-foot house, and the first floor sustained mainly water damage, Rutledge said.

The man and his wife, who was out of town at the time, were displaced by the fire.

Rutledge said fire investigators have not determined if a blaze at the Berkshire at Medlock Bridge Apartments in Norcross was caused by the weather. However, he said, officials don't expect foul play in the fire, which began about 5:36 a.m.

There, the complex's clubhouse was a total loss, though firefighters were able to contain the blaze and keep it from reaching any apartment units.

Rutledge said it took about an hour to get the fire under control.