News Local

Lightning suspected cause of Hamilton Township house fire

By PETE FISHER, Northumberland Today


A lightning strike is the suspected cause of a major house fire east of Cobourg early Saturday morning.

Hamilton Township and Cobourg fire departments were called residence on Danforth Road East around 4:30 a.m.

On his way to the fire, Hamilton Township Fire Chief Kelly Serson said he could see the flames from kilometres away.

Cobourg Fire Department arrived on scene shortly before Hamilton Township crews and started to attack the fire that was shooting through the roof of the two-storey home.

Serson said it was a difficult fire to extinguish.

“It appears that the house has multiple roofs to it so the crews worked inside to get at the fire, but it was difficult to access,” he said. “We used a number of attacks to get at the fire, both outside and inside.”

The fire eventually consumed most of the roof to the home.

Another aspect that made the fire difficult were the cedar shingles on the roof.

“It’s slippery for the firefighters and the fire gets in between the shingles and burns concealed until it pops out,” Serson said.

Fire officials suspect the cause of the fire may have been a lightning strike late Friday night.

“The gentleman that was home said at about 10:30 p.m. he heard an enormous crack of thunder and (there was) some lightning,” Serson said. “It knocked out some electrical components to the house, one of which was the TV.”

Serson said the homeowner woke to thinking someone was trying to get in the front door.

“When he got to the hallway an ember fell from the ceiling and he noticed there was a glow in the attic space so he immediately called the fire department,” the fire chief said.

When there is a fire in the attic, Serson said it is very hard to detect.

“We’ve had a number of fires in the last while that have started from the outside,” he said. “For the most part, they do not set the smoke alarms off until well into the fire.

“It’s a dangerous situation and he’s lucky he heard the noise because the fire was well advanced before he discovered it.”

Damage is estimated at approximately $1-million to the home and contents.