A fierce thunderstorm apparently sparked a garage fire near the airport Thursday afternoon.
Lightning struck a detached garage in the 1600 block of West Dalton Circle just before noon, said Payson Fire Chief Marty deMasi.
Next-door neighbors Danny and Wendy Helton said they were enjoying the storm in their pajamas when they heard a large crash and saw a flash of light.
Minutes later, Danny said he smelled smoke. However, when he looked outside he saw no signs of fire.
Danny said he went outside several more times, worried his home had been hit, but could still see no signs of a fire.
Half an hour after the lightning strike, Danny said he noticed smoke coming from a neighbor’s large garage and called for help.
Payson and Star Valley Fire Departments responded with five engines, which crammed into the small cul-de-sac west of the airport.
No one was in the home at the time of the fire.
A man from the Valley reportedly bought the home several months ago, but has not moved in, Helton said.
“Well, he has got a sky roof in there now,” Danny said as firefighters cut a hole in the garage’s roof to spray fire-suppressing foam into the attic.
Firefighters put the blaze out quickly, containing it to 20 percent of the garage’s attic area.
This is the third house fire in Rim Country in the last two weeks.