A storm cell bringing heavy rain and lightning moved across Waxahachie Monday evening, leaving firefighters battling multiple structure fires.
During the storm, five area homes were struck by lightning — four of them sparking a blaze.
Lightning was the cause of a fire that damaged an unoccupied fourplex residential unit in the 800 block of Hibiscus Trail.
Waxahachie Fire Chief David Hudgins was the first to arrive on the scene. Hudgins indicated that fire crews were working a fire call on April Lane when the call came in. Hudgins observed heavy fire showing from the attic.
“We started bringing backup companies in as the lightning got heavier. Fire was shooting through the roof when crews arrived,” Hudgins said.
“It took us a good 20 minutes to get it under control, maybe a little bit longer. There is quite a bit of damage downstairs in addition to the attic,” the chief said.
No injuries were reported from firefighters working the scene. Along with on duty personnel, all off duty firefighters were called in to service the increased call load.
Damages to the structure were estimated at $80,000.
Mutual aid was received from members of the Lancaster, Midlothian and Red Oak fire departments. DeSoto Firefighters filled in at station one to handle any incoming emergency calls while crews were dispatched.
800 block Yinger Street
Lightning also struck a home in the 800 block of Yinger Street Monday night.
Waxahachie Fire Department Battalion Chief Gary Myers was the first to arrive on scene and reported smoke showing from the attic space of the residence.
Waxahachie Assistant Fire Chief Randall Potter said the fire had spread from the attic into the kitchen. Firefighters had to use chainsaws to cut a hole in kitchen ceiling to access the fire. Crews also had to remove some of the composition roof shingles to access the wooden shingles below to extinguish hot spots.
Potter said when lightning struck the home, the electrical current it generated traveled through the home’s electrical system and shorted out some wires over a doorway in the kitchen. That started fires in a couple of places, he said.
Extensive damage was done to the kitchen and damage in the attic from the fire, Potter said.
Assisting on the call were members of the DeSoto Fire Department.
Santos Villarreal, the resident, was not home at the time of the fire. Damages to the structure are estimated at more than $40,000.
A community fund drive has been initiated to assist Villarreal, who lost everything in the fire.
Donations (monetary, furniture, household goods and clothes) are being collected for Villarreal at the Foundation of Life Church in Waxahachie. Contact pastor Edwin Lipsey for more information at 972-923-9470.
500 block of April Lane
During Monday’s storm, crews were dispatched to a structure fire in the 500 block of April Lane as a result of a lightning strike. Firefighters received the call at 8:01 p.m. and arrived on scene at 8:08 p.m.
According to reports from the Waxahachie Fire Department, firefighters made entry into the residence carrying a hose line and pike poles. Using the pike poles firefighters began to pull the ceiling down on the second floor to gain access to the fire and extinguish it.
Crews then began hitting the fire with water through the hole they made in the ceiling and from an attic ladder opening.
No injuries were reported. Crews cleared the scene at 11:35 p.m.
Damages were estimated to be a total of $100,00 with contest loss set at $50,000.
Minimum damage was caused by a lightning strike that hit a residence on Williams Street Monday night.
Lightning struck a pipe in the attic space. The electrical charge generated from the strike traveled down the pipe, which ran behind a dryer.
The charge then caught debris on fire behind the dry.
Estimated damages were $1,000. No injuries were reported.
Fire crews also responded to a fifth call regarding a residential lightning strike near Lake Waxahachie.
That strike did not ingnite a fire, reports indicate.
Follow Andrew on Facebook at www.facebook.com/AndrewBrancaWDL. Contact him at email@example.com or 469-517-1451.