ST. GEORGE — A lightning bolt tore open a hole 3-4 feet wide in the roof of a home in the Little Valley area of St. George on Thursday evening, then carried through ducting and started a small fire in the garage.
St. George firefighters on the scene, assisted by St. George Police, said they received a 911 call around 8:15 p.m., about the strike on the 1800 block of 2740 East and arrived to see the hole and neighbors already making progress against any fire with their garden hose.
“I’ll give them all the credit. They got up on the roof with the hose and were able to put that fire out pretty much until we arrived,” St. George Fire Chief Robert Stoker said, who added the department was busy Thursday night with several fires sparked by lightning strikes around the area, but none that rose to the level seen at 2740 East.
“We had several lightning-strike, wildland fires. Most of those were put out by the rain,” he said.
The bolt that hit the house started a small fire in the attic, but the bright plasma didn’t stop there. Stoker said it traveled down a dryer vent and blew a hole in the gas line behind the dryer, starting the fire.
Once again, Stoker said, the neighbors came to the rescue.
“Luckily, the neighbors were in the right mind and shut the gas off,” Stoker said. “The back of the dryer is burned fairly well because of that gas coming out.”
There were at least two people home at the time. No one at the house or among the firefighters were injured.
But as everything was under control at the home with a hole in the roof, the neighbors themselves noticed damage to their roof. Firefighters inspected it and found a damaged tile. Stoker said he is unsure if the damage was from the original strike or debris that flew off the roof of the other house.
As the firefighters started work to tarp off the hole to keep the still raining skies from doing further damage, an arching rainbow appeared over the home.
Stoker said the homeowner turned to him and said, “There’s a rainbow. Everything must be good.”
This report is based on statements from police, emergency personnel or other responders and may not contain the full scope of findings.
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