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Lightning likely culprit in 2 fires

SNELLVILLE - Lightning is probably to blame in two Thursday night fires that damaged Gwinnett homes, officials said.

Firefighters responded to the first home, located in the 4200 block of Lenora Church Road and Lee Road in Snellville, when neighbors reported hearing "a loud boom" about 10:30 p.m. A brief thunderstorm was sweeping the area at the time, said Fire Department spokesman Capt. Thomas Rutledge.

Crews found a working fire in the bedroom of the single-story house on arrival, where they contained and quickly extinguished it, Rutledge said. The fire caused heavy damage to the single room.

Three adult occupants - a man, his wife and their teenage son - were home at the time and escaped without injury, Rutledge said.

A half-hour later, firefighters responded to a report of a lightning strike in the 7000 block of River Island Circle in Buford. Crews found a haze of smoke inside the two-story home.

"It appears that lightning struck the roof and ignited a small fire in the insulation and an exterior wall," causing minor damage, Rutledge said.

Rutledge said the home's occupants escaped without injury.