Lightning strikes aren’t terribly common, but when they do occur there are usually predictable issues. Not so this morning in the Penn Mill Lakes subdivision, where a lightning strike to a house caused unusual and minimal damage.
At approximately 7:40 this morning, a resident at 558 Jessica Way called 911 to report the home had been struck. Firefighters from St. Tammany Fire Protection District No. 12 were on-scene at 7:47 a.m. There were no flames and the four occupants of the home were unharmed, and the damage from the strike was minimal – and unusual.

What seems to have been a small bolt of lightning struck the roof, knocking a six-inch vent from the siding. The interior floor had marks and a piece of shoe molding had been blown across the room. A hole in the back door of the home measured about two inches in diameter.

“I’ve seen lightning do some weird stuff, but this wasn’t even burned,” said District Chief Eric Rodick. “It was a strange call. It didn’t damage much.”

To be certain the structure and family were safe, firefighters went through the home with thermal imaging equipment twice, searching for hidden hot spots.

“We found nothing even warm,” Rodick said.

What was not unusual was that the strike occurred in Penn Mill Lakes, where there are virtually no trees and residential structures are the highest points. Rodick said FD12 has responded to other lightning strikes in that subdivision more frequently than anywhere else in FD12’s boundaries.

“Lightning is one of nature’s most dangerous and deadly perils, and we’re very glad this morning’s incident caused only minimal damage,” said FD12 Deputy Chief Stephen Krentel. “Residents should never take chances, though. When lightning is in the area, all precautions should be taken, and when lightning strikes — even if the damage appears minimal — people should call 911. Allowing professional firefighters to check for hidden dangers is important to ensuring your family’s safety.”

For more information, visit www.fd12.org, or find Fire District 12 on Facebook.