Lightning Explodes Chimney, May Have Sparked Series of Fires

Lighting struck two homes and may have sparked a series of fires in several houses across a number of Pennsylvania and New Jersey counties overnight -- keeping fire crews busy after a bout of severe weather.

A strong line of storms moved through the region during the early morning hours on Thursday dumping heavy rain, blowing strong winds and producing a bevy of lightning.

A lightning bolt connected with the chimney of a home at Wisteria Lane and Fox Glove Court in Doylestown, Bucks County around 3 a.m., county emergency dispatchers said. The strike caused the brick chimney to explode. Bricks and mortar were left strewn across the home's roof, front yard and were even thrown into the street. No one was hurt.

PHOTO: A composite photo showing the damage to a chimney at a home along Wisteria Lane in Doylestown, Pa. after it was struck by lightning overnight Thursday.

Further west, residents of a two-story home along the 200 block of Summer Ridge Circle in Chalfont, Bucks County told fire crews they heard a loud boom and then smelled smoke. When firefighters arrived, smoke and flames spreading through the attic of the home forcing them to cut holes in the roof. Everyone made it out of the home safely, officials said.

About 15 miles northwest in Trumbauersville, Bucks County, a garage along the 1700 block of Allentown Road caught fire around 2:15 a.m. Thursday, the town’s fire chief said. Trumbauersville Fire Chief Josh Mallery tells that the fire marshal will be investigating whether lighting sparked the small fire. Winds also uprooted two large trees and sent them crashing down into the garage. Part of the roof was broken off.

Mallery said a number of downed trees and live wires across the small town made it difficult for volunteer firefighters to quickly respond to fire calls. Quarter-size hail also fell during the strong storm.

In Chester County, an abandoned home along the unit block of Martin Road in Highland Township, Pa. caught fire around 3:30 a.m., officials with the Keystone Valley Fire Department told The house was fully consumed by flames when fire crews arrived and it took two companies more than an hour to get the fire under control, officials said. Lightning is also being investigated as a cause for the fire.

PHOTO: Fire crews in Highland Township, Chester County are investigating whether lighting caused a fire that destroyed this home.

Over in Gloucester County, N.J., the attic of a home along Lynn Drive in West Deptford caught fire during the storm. Fire officials say the fire was brought under control within 30 minutes.

Lightning is also suspected as the cause of a house fire along Hickory Lane in Harrison Township just after 4:30 a.m.

Twenty-five miles south in Vineland, Cumberland County, officials say a lightning bolt caused smokey conditions in the basement of a home along the 600 block of Birch Street.

The NBC10 First Alert Weather Team says there will be a chance for more severe weather during the day Thursday, but that it most likely would not be as developed as the early morning system.

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