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Lightning strikes cause fires, problems for Bexar County firefighters

About half dozen homes struck by lightning overnight

SAN ANTONIO – As if heavy rain, flooding and water rescues weren't enough, lightning also kept firefighters busy throughout Bexar County in the early morning hours Wednesday.

The Bexar-Bulverde Volunteer Fire Department fielded at least four calls due to lightning strikes.

One of the strikes started a fire around 1:30 a.m. that caused heavy damage to a home in the 2500 block of Cielo Trace.

"It's notorious when we have large thunderstorms and lightning storms and stuff like that, we usually get at least one," said Battalion Chief James Sample.  "We had three going on at the same time. It's just the nature of the area out here and the terrain."

All of the homes that were hit were located on hilly ground close to Highway 281 and Bulverde Road.

Sample said the high terrain made the homes targets for lightning.

At the home on Cielo Trace, three people and two pets evacuated before firefighters arrived.

The other homes that were hit didn't catch fire, but residents reported smelling smoke, according to a Bexar-Bulverde VFD spokesman.

Sample said putting out the fire on Cielo Trace wasn't easy because firefighters were restricted to fighting the blaze from the outside with an overhead hose.

"We could see that the fire was growing in intensity and wasn't diminishing," Sample said. "As it started to spread, we were worried about collapse and firefighters falling through the ceiling. So at that point, we did the emergency evacuation and got everybody out."

San Antonio firefighters also faced a challenge while attempting to put out a lightning-related fire on the city's South Side.

The home that was struck is located on Tesoro Hills, an area still under construction.

Firefighters said the fire hydrant in that area wasn't working, so they had to tap into one around the block.

No one was living in the home and there were no injuries among firefighters.

San Antonio firefighters estimate the damage to the home was $80,000.

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A lightning strike was also to blame for a house fire that caused extensive damage to a home around 11:30 a.m. on Sky Ridge Court on the city's North Side.

Fire official said the fire was contained to the attic and roof.

Damage was estimated at $100,000.

No injuries were reported.


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