By Ryan Gueningsman
INDEPENDENCE, MAPLE PLAIN, MN An Independence residence was damaged by fire caused by a lightning strike June 11 just before 9:30 a.m., reported West Hennepin Public Safety (WHPS).
WHPS along with Maple Plain Fire Department were dispatched to a house fire on Heritage Trail in Independence.
Both agencies were advised that the house had been struck by lightning around 4 a.m. and now smoke was seen coming from the attic, according to WHPS.
It was learned the homeowner, Stacy Musel, was out of town and her son, Brett Duda, was watching the home.
Around 4 a.m., Duda heard the lightning strike hit the home and he later discovered a hole in the roof.
Duda called his father, Tim Duda, who inspected the roof and all appeared alright so arrangements were made to repair the roof later in the day, according to WHPS. As he was getting ready for work, Brett Duda began to smell smoke and went outside to see smoke coming out of the roof vents.
Brett Duda immediately called 911 and the Maple Plain Fire Department was dispatched to the scene, according to WHPS.
Loretto Fire Department was also called for mutual aid in extinguishing the house fire. As Maple Plain firefighters and WHPS police arrived, they immediately noticed smoke coming from the roof vents and soffits.
Maple Plain firefighters discovered the lightning strike had ignited building material inside the attic, causing the fire, according to WHPS.
The fire was contained to an area of the attic and was quickly extinguished by the Maple Plain Fire Department.
Maple Plain Fire Department assisted Brett Duda and the homeowner with necessary repairs and patching the roof until the damage can be fixed.
West Hennepin Public Safety Sgt. Gary Kroells said that this incident turned out with a good result; however, this fire could have destroyed the entire home.
“Homeowners are encouraged to contact their local police and fire departments in the event that their house is struck by lightning,” according to WHPS. “As this case shows, several hours after a lightning strike a small ember can start an entire house on fire.”