An afternoon storm Friday prompted a flurry of calls to the fire department, with engines crisscrossing across town on three simultaneous calls. Lightning started a fire in one home’s attic and damaged another’s roof. The first engine went out at 4:20 p.m. as the skies lit up with lightning.
Deloris Goughnour, of 1201 W. Chatham Drive, was getting ready to go out to dinner with her husband when their home was struck. Goughnour reported smoke coming from her home’s attic vents.
When firefighters arrived, they could see no flames from the outside, but when they pulled down the ceiling in the garage and living room, they found the fire burning through half of the
“They had to get after it immediately if they had any chance,” said Fire Chief Marty deMasi. Very quickly, 16 firefighters had the fire out. Fire investigators believe lightning entered the home near the edge of the roof by the chimney.
Four minutes after that first call, Diana Thompson, of 1302 N. Alpine Heights Drive reported her home had been struck and reported smelling smoke. “Lightning was hitting all over the place. It was a pretty tremendous storm,” deMasi said.
Units from neighboring Hellsgate and Houston Mesa answered the call and confirmed the strike, but found no fire.
“There was considerable damage from the lightning,” deMasi said.
Shingles were blown off the roof and there was a crack running down the drywall and ending at the baseboard.
As firefighters looked over Thompson’s home, a fire alarm from Payson Senior Apartments, 31 S. McLane Road, went off.
Luckily, it was only a false alarm.
Payson Battalion Chief Dan Bramble said it is very easy for Payson’s fire resources to get used up with multiple calls.
On Wednesday, the opening day of Payson’s newest fire station off Tyler Parkway, all three units were quickly put in use on separate medical calls around town.
“This is the perfect example of why we needed the other station,” Bramble said.