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Lightning causes 2 house fires

DULUTH -- Weather was to blame for two house fires as storms rolled through the county on Thursday night.

The first was in the 3000 block of Oak Hampton Way in Duluth.

Crews were on the scene by 9:39 p.m. of a working fire in the attic and roof of a two-story wood frame house.

Gwinnett Fire Capt. Tommy Rutledge said no injuries were initially reported, and the caller reported a lightning strike.

The second call came in at 10:41 p.m. in the 3500 block of Greenside Court, NE in Dacula. The occupant reported an active fire from the second floor.

Fire crews found flames burning in the attic of a two-story house on arrival. Firefighters quickly deployed attack lines and contained the fire to the attic.

Rutledge said all occupants were outside safe when the fire department arrived and no injuries were reported.

As the threat of lightning storms and severe weather increases over the spring and summer months, fire officials suggest following a few simple safety rules:

— Monitor weather conditions and stay alert to your surroundings at all times. Be prepared to take cover if conditions worsen.

— Know the difference between a Severe Thunder Storm Watch and a Severe Thunderstorm Warning. Consider purchasing a NOAA Weather Radio to get up-to-date weather information and warnings.

— Turn off and even unplug electrical appliances until the storm passes. Avoid being caught outdoors during a thunderstorm.

— If you suspect a lightning strike to your home, be sure to check the basement and attic if applicable. Be ready to escape if you detect the presence of smoke or fire.