With lightning crashing all around them, firefighters stood out in a storm Saturday to stop the spread of flames into a Rim Club home, that was likely hit by lightning.
“It is scary, it is dangerous with the lightning all around,” said a Payson fire battalion chief.
Dispatchers started receiving calls from residents of various lightning strikes around town around 6:30 p.m.
“We had a pretty good storm cell come across the east end of town,” said the fire official.
The first calls came from the area of Ridgeway Street where several residents reported seeing a strike and possible burst of fire. Firefighters scoured the area, but could find no fire. Officials believe the rain likely put any flames out before it spread.
Then around 6:50 p.m., a home in the 1100 block of South Elk Ridge was hit by lightning. The strike was so loud “the entire neighborhood heard it,” the fire official said.
The homeowner reported smelling smoke in the home, which had lightning rods installed.
Firefighters found no smoke in the home, but found the lightning had traveled down the rods, a rain gutter and when it grounded, blew apart a section of concrete. Two outlets in the home were damaged.
“It was such a powerful blast,” the official said.
Firefighters left that home around 7:47 p.m. and at 7:54, the crew at the Tyler Parkway fire station received word from dispatch that residents in The Rim Club smelled smoke.
Security told firefighters where residents were calling from and the crew set off looking for any signs of fire.
“The engine went around a corner and saw the back side of a home on fire,” the official said.
Firefighters put water on the fire as additional firefighters arrived and the battalion chief called for a second-alarm, which brought in resources from Christopher Kohls, Water Wheel and the Hellsgate fire departments.
“They made a good attack,” the official said. “The guys really did a phenomenal job.”
Firefighters contained the fire to a deck and the home, some 5,500 square feet, was undamaged.
No one was home and no one was injured.
The fire was under control just before 9 p.m.
The fire is still under investigation, but lightning is likely the cause.
The official said with the amount of lightning in the area crews had to be extra careful they were not struck as well.
“We manage the risk as much as we can,” he said. “You just have to be smart about it.”