Home catches fire after it’s struck by lightning

Firefighers work to extinguish a fire on Evans Lane late Saturday night. The fire started from a lightning strike.

Photo courtesy of Johnna Ladson

SPEARFISH — A Spearfish home receive heavy damage late Saturday night after it was struck by lightning.

Spearfish firefighters responded to a report of smoke coming from the roof of an Evans Lane home shortly before 8 p.m.

Assistant Fire Chief Rob Mathis said the residents told firefighters that they were eating dinner and watching TV when they heard a loud bang and the back of the TV blew out. A neighbor called to check on them, he said, and then called them back almost immediately informing them their roof was on fire.

About that same time, Mathis said, Spearfish police officers were knocking on their door telling the family to evacuate.

Mathis said the fire was contained to the space between the ceiling and the roof.

Upon their arrival, Mathis said, heavy smoke was visible from the north side of building, but no “real fire” was showing. Firefighters used saws to cut into the roof to vent the smoke and find the fire. They began their attack, but the fire had burned through a rafter and compromised the integrity of the roof, so firefighters got off the roof and used the ladders from the structure trucks to fight the blaze.

Mathis said the age of the building and its construction — rough-cut lumber and lath and plaster — made fighting the fire all the more difficult.

Spearfish ultimately called for mutual assistance from Belle Fourche and Whitewood volunteer fire departments.

“The guys were getting tired,” Mathis said. “You can only do so much.”

Belle Fourche responded with two engines and crews, and Whitewood joined with one engine and crew.

“It was a good stop,” Mathis said. “There was a lot of water damage. That was the predominance of damage of the house.”

Mathis said firefighters got the stubborn fire knocked down early Sunday morning and they finally had returned to the stations and had the engines back in service around 4:30 a.m.

“It was a good effort,” he said. “The house is still standing.”

Responding agencies also included the Spearfish Police Department, Spearfish Public Works, Lawrence County Emergency Management, and the Red Cross.

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