Lightning sparks Geneva house fires Friday

By ASHLEY SLOBODA – asloboda@shawmedia.com

GENEVA – Two houses caught fire about 20 minutes apart in Geneva Friday evening when severe weather passed through the area, Geneva Fire Department officials said in a news release.

No injuries were reported.

The first fire was reported at about 7:18 p.m. in the 900 block of Sunset Road. The homeowner reportedly heard lightning strike, saw flames from the kitchen window and left through the front door to a neighbor's home.

Upon arrival, officials reported, firefighters saw flames on the south side of the home along the wall of an attached garage. Firefighters quickly extinguished the flames and vented the house after learning its gas line was damaged, officials said.

Officials determined lightning either struck the supply line or a nearby tree, thus damaging the piping and igniting the escaping gas, according to the release. Nicor Gas reportedly made temporary repairs to the damaged piping.

Damage to the house was limited to burnt siding and some smoke damage to the interior, officials reported, noting no damage estimate was available Saturday.

Meanwhile, a second house fire was reported at about 7:42 p.m. in the 1500 block of Keim Circle, where smoke and flames were visible from the roof and neighbors tried to control the blaze with a garden hose from the front yard, officials said.

Fire damage was limited to the roof, which was apparently struck by lightning, officials said, adding the second floor beneath the fire area sustained water damage.

Officials said no damage estimate was available Saturday and that firefighters spread protective salvage covers over furnishings on the first floor and basement.

The residents exited the house before firefighters arrived, officials said.

Units from Batavia, St. Charles, Elburn, Fermilab, North Aurora, South Elgin and West Chicago assisted the Geneva Fire Department.

Saturday, members of other fire departments – including Batavia, St. Charles, Elburn and Fox River & Countryside – said they received few, if any, storm-related calls Friday.