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Lightning damages Lawrenceville home

Photo by Shawn Wheat

Photo by Shawn Wheat

LAWRENCEVILLE -- A Wednesday evening fire sparked by lightning caused extensive damage to a Lawrenceville home, displacing its resident and claiming the lives of two of her pets in the process.

Gwinnett County firefighters were just up the street from the home on the 700 block of Continental Drive when they received the call at about 6:40 p.m., spokesman Capt. Tommy Rutledge said.

The lone occupant of the home heard a popping noise and immediately went to the bottom floor, where she discovered the fire, Rutledge said. A neighbor reportedly saw lightning strike the ground close to the house and cause a spark.

"Investigators believe (the lightning entered the house) via electrical wiring at the side of the house, and the fire spread up to the attic," Rutledge said.

The resident was trying to get her many cats and dogs outside of the home when firefighters and police officers arrived. Two of them, one cat and one dog, did not make it, Rutledge said.

The blaze caused extensive damage to the interior of the home and sent smoke and heat throughout.

Emergency crews were just up the street responding to a call for downed electrical wires when they were alerted to the fire, Rutledge said.

"They got there very quickly," he said, "but not before the fire had already made a lot of headway."

Wednesday evening's storms also caused a number of other incidents.

A large oak tree fell through the living room of a home on the 3700 block of Willow Wood Way in Lawrenceville. Four occupants inside at the time were unharmed, Rutledge said.

Another tree fell and crushed a vehicle in the driveway of a home on the 2900 block of Five Oaks Circle in Lilburn.