The Chesterton Fire
Department is attributing the likely cause of an attic fire at 415 W.
Indiana Ave. on Sunday morning to a lightning strike.
No one was injured
in the fire and the sole occupant of the home succeeded in safely evacuating
on waking to an activated smoke detector. At the same time, Chesterton
Police officers were forcing entry to the home after seeing smoke pouring
from the roof.
Lt. Brandon Smith
told the Chesterton Tribune today that the CFD responded to scene at
8:10 a.m., only 15 minutes after firefighters--at the station--heard a “very
close” boom of thunder. Smith noted that the house’s power line had been
pulled out of the weatherhead, that the home was without electrical service
at the time of the fire, and nothing else in the attic could have ignited
“I’m putting it as
weather-related,” Smith said. Still, there were no obvious signs of a
lightning strike--no melted metal, for instance--and were it not for the
fact that firefighters actually heard the thunder clap accompanying a
lightning strike just blocks away, in all probability the cause of the fire
would have remained undetermined, he added.
Smith himself made
initial entry to the home, where he found no smoke either on the first or
second floors. He then entered the attic, where he observed “a good fire
going” on the north side, facing West Indiana Ave. There Smith handled the
hose and flowed around 1,000 gallons to douse the blaze. He told the
Tribune that in fact the lightning strike appears to have ignited some
of the contents of the attic, because none of the actual structural members
of the roof were burning.
FD--which responded to the scene along with the Liberty Township Volunteer
FD--was forced to cut a hole in the roof for ventilation, Smith said. “There
was no way to get the heat out of the attic without cutting a hole.”
Firefighters were also forced to perform overhaul on the second-floor
ceiling to check for extension, leading to water damage on the second floor.
total damage to structure and contents at $50,000.
The CFD cleared the
scene at 10:23 a.m.