Lightning strikes Trailside home | ParkRecord.com

Lightning strikes Trailside home

Amid the thunderstorms that hit the area Friday, lightning struck a home on Mountain Ranch Drive in Trailside setting it on fire.

The Park City Fire District said investigators have determined a lightning bolt struck the home causing the blaze.

"We’re not positive where it hit," said Casey Vorwaller, the fire district’s public information officer. "The chimney on the house does have metal caps, but it could have struck anywhere. When lightning strikes it tries to find its way to the ground. At any point, it may decide to arch out and normally it does so through gas lines."

Saturday, at about 2 p.m., a UPS delivery driver reported seeing smoke coming from the home. Three engines and several firefighters responded.

The homeowners were on their way out of town for a soccer tournament, but returned shortly after the fire started, Vorwaller said. Crews were able to save some of the family’s photographs, a lizard and a goldfish from inside the home. The family’s other pets reportedly were at a kennel.

Flames never extended outside of the three-story home, though it did blow out several windows. The upper and main levels sustained significant damage because of the heat and smoke. However, crews did most of the overhaul on the lower level. Vorwaller estimated the damage to be more than $500,000.

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"The house did not have fire sprinklers," Vorwaller said. "Most in this area do and when there are sprinklers, the likelihood of a catastrophic fire is significantly smaller."

Vorwaller said the home was not out of compliance because it was probably built before sprinklers were part of the plat requirement.

No other structures were threatened because of the fire with the nearest homes more than 50 feet away.

It is the second lightning strike to cause a structure fire in less than two months, Vorwaller said, adding that the first incident didn’t cause as much damage because the homeowner was there.

"It is a rarity and somewhat of an anomaly to have one, let alone two. But they do happen," Vorwaller said.