Lightning Strike Is Likely Cause of Lower Mac House Fire
Blaze around chimney was probably ignited by swift storm, fire chief says.
A probable lightning strike ignited a fire Saturday evening at a Lower Macungie home, according to the township's top fire officer.
Township firefighters were called about 6:30 p.m. to investigate a natural gas odor at 4753 Yorkshire Drive in the Hidden Valley Farms development. Chief David Nosal arrived and reported flames coming from around the chimney.
Firefighters extinguished the flames, but had to pull apart much of the siding and other construction materials to fully put out the fire. That took time and manpower, especially in the hot and humid temperatures.
Meanwhile, Macungie Ambulance crews worked to cool and rehydrate firefighters and monitor their vital signs for safety.
Lower Macungie's aerial truck was used to access the top of the two-story chimney. While not much of the firefighting apparatus was used, Nosal said the relatively high call-out was necessary to replenish personnel who tired quickly in the heat. Most were able to work about 15 minutes before needing a break.
Damage appeared to be contained to the exterior of the chimney, either from the flames or areas that had to be exposed to ensure full extinguishment.
Lightening in the area was the result of a violent storm that blew in a bit after 6 p.m. Lehigh County was hit with several occurrences of downed wires and trees and a few reports of lightening strikes.