UPDATE: 8 Fire Departments Called to Fight House Fires Caused by Lightning in Macomb
Homes on Bluejay, Shenandoah and Cheltenham in Macomb Township caught fire Tuesday around 10 a.m. when lightning struck their respective roofs. None of the homes' residents were seriously injured.
As thunderstorms rolled through the area Tuesday morning, cloud-to-ground lightning strikes ignited the roofs of three Macomb Township homes.
Macomb fire crews had just arrived at a home on Bluejay Drive when the department received reports of two more homes on fire, due to lightning strikes.
With all local units actively engaged, Macomb Township Fire Chief Roberts Phillips said crews from Shelby Township, Sterling Heights, Utica, Washington Township, Mount Clemens, Chesterfield Township and Ray Township were called in to assist on additional house fires on Shenandoah, near 22 Mile and Card roads, and Cheltenham, near 23 Mile Road and Card.
Although all three homes were occupied at the time of their respective fires, Phillips said none of the homes' residents were injured. However, a 69-year-old Macomb Township man was taken to the hospital for smoke inhalation and possible cardiac issues after he kicked in the door of the home on Shenandoah to wake his neighbor who had been sleeping inside.
The man's condition is currently unknown.
While the three fires were quickly extinguished, Phillps said because of the nature of their cause, it took more than an hour for fire crews to check the attic of each home for hot spots.
Other than structural and water damage, Phillips said the only home that suffered significant damage was the one on Bluejay, where the homeowner attempted to fight the fire herself before calling 911.
"The fire had a very good head start before we were notified," Phillips said, adding a reminder to residents that 911 should always be notified immediately, regardless of how large or small the blaze may appear.
"Get us notified and heading that way and then just get out," he said. "Don't go back in, just get out."
While it's impossible to know where lightning will strike, Phillips said residents can be proactive in protecting their own homes by simply being "aware of what’s going on with the weather."
"Keep an eye out for these things to happen," he said.
Macomb Patch reader Patti Mitchell Houston was near the scene on Bluejay Tuesday morning. See the photos she texted to Patch in the gallery at the upper right.