Lightning suspected as cause of fire that destroyed Highland home
May 24, 2023, 6:37 PM | Updated: 6:42 pm
UTAH COUNTY, Utah — A large home in Highland, Utah, is deemed a total loss after flames tore through the top story and roof.
“Given that we were getting lots of lightning strikes, and it was raining really heavy when it started, and it was able to burn, that’s the only thing that makes sense,” said homeowner Brandon McClellan.
The fire broke out Tuesday evening as thunderstorms passed over his house, McClellan said. Fire investigators are now looking at whether a lightning strike sparked the blaze.
“It really started thundering, lightning,” he added.
He and his wife realized something was wrong when the smoke alarms went off.
“I could see smoke drifting past the window,” McClellan said.
He suspects lightning hit the chimney, traveled down the metal flue, and sparked the fire inside.
“It was just smoke that was seeping out of the cracks and only on this chimney,” McClellan said.
McClellan and his wife were able to get out of the home unharmed. He then tried spraying water at the chimney with a garden hose, but the fire kept growing.
“We had fire through the roof,” said Jake Beck, the deputy fire chief for the Lone Peak Fire District.
When firefighters arrived, the flames spread fast through the attic, Beck said. Fortunately, they had help from the Lehi Fire Department, which flew its drone over the blaze.
“Street level views only tell me so much, and having those aerial shots, I was able to direct water streams better, able to direct crews better,” Beck said.
The deputy fire chief said fire investigators are also looking at a lightning strike as a possible cause.
“It would make sense that lightning would hit there,” Beck said of the chimney. “It sits up above the house. There’s a metal flue that goes through.”
No firefighters were injured while fighting the fire. The homeowners are displaced but said they’ve had an outpouring of support.