Emergency crews battle lightning-related house fires, car accidents

- Published: 22 July 2015
Emergency crews battle lightning-related house fires, car accidents

Lightning has kept Green Country emergency crews busy battling numerous house fires and car accidents this week.

Michael Kirksey and his family were not hurt when their home caught fire Tuesday morning in Glenpool.

“I tried to put clothes on as best I could, grabbed them, called the fire department and just tried to save what we could but I don't really have too much hope on that,” said Kirksey.

He says his family is physically fine, but they never could've imagined that lightning would turn their worlds upside down.

“You see the families that are impacted, or the citizens that are impacted by natural disasters, you know, we see a lot,” said Tulsa Fire Capt. Mike Bell.

The Tulsa Fire Department is just one group that have witnessed, firsthand, just what lightning can do to a home in a matter of minutes.

“They tend to cause double amperage into the wiring, which causes the wiring to short out or melt,” said Capt. Bell.

But once the fire is over, the aftermath can be just as bad.

“It’s not just the lightning, it can be the subsequent damages it can cause,” said Steven Jiles of Jiles Insurance in Glenpool. “Then you have the issues with the water whenever they come and put the fire out.”

Fire crews recommend calling them for any sign of smoke, or pops inside the walls of your home. Older homes with aged wiring are the most susceptible, but any home could fall victim. They say the best defense starts at the source.

“It would be good to go ahead and shut your power off at the main panel and have someone, an electrical professional, inspect your wiring,” said Capt. Bell.

And know that help is around the corner if you need it.

“On one hand, it's very, very sad, but on the other hand, it's good that you can be there to support the families and provide a relief for that situation,” said Jiles.

Firefighters are also recommending that everyone stay indoors during intense lightning – experts say it's second only to heat as the deadliest weather-killer.

Source: kjrh.com