Lightning causes house fire on Onota Street


PITTSFIELD -- A lightning strike from a passing thunderstorm caused a structure fire in a two-family home at 24 Onota St. on Tuesday night, according to the Fire Department.

It was the second time in two weeks that lightning caused a fire in a city residence, said Deputy Fire Chief Keith Phillips. The other fire occurred on Madison Place last week.

According to Phillips, Tuesday night’s blaze began when a lightning bolt hit the rear of the house near the basement level around 9:28 p.m.

No injuries were reported. The exterior siding on the home was damaged by fire along with utilities that were inside the house. The fire was contained to the building’s interior.

When firefighters arrived on the scene, they found the homeowner’s son trying to put out the blaze with a garden hose.

Phillips said the chances of lightning hitting houses in extremely rare.

"You do see them now and then," he said. "Two in a couple of weeks is kind of weird, but we have had a lot of lightning."

Most homes are protected from lightning strikes because they are grounded by underground cables that enter the home, he said.

Three engine companies and a ladder truck responded to the blaze as did the city’s building inspector and crews from the Western Massachusetts Electric Co. and the Berkshire Gas Co.


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