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Friday, Oct 24, 2014
Pasco Tribune

Lightning strikes cited in Tampa area residential fires


Published:   |   Updated: July 16, 2014 at 03:15 PM

Lightning strikes were cited in at least three fires that damaged residences Wednesday in the Tampa Bay area.

No one was injured in the blazes, but in Pasco County two dogs died when they were caught inside a burning home, officials said.

Officials said that house, at 5240 Eagle Drive in Holiday, took a direct lightning strike in the roof just after 10 a.m.

The house was engulfed in flames at 10:16 a.m., when firefighters arrived at 5240 Eagle Drive, according to Pasco Fire Rescue. The call came in two minutes earlier.

No one was home and no injuries were reported, Pasco County spokesman Doug Tobin said. However, the dogs were found dead inside.

The house was considered a total loss, and there was also damage to a neighbor's home, Tobin said.

In Tampa, a lightning strike apparently started a blaze just before noon in a building at the University Club Apartments at 12731 University Club Drive, just west of the University of South Florida.

In Clearwater, lightning was blamed for a fire at 1450 Citrus St. The homeowner told firefighters the intensity of the strike caused metal objects such as the doorbell and address plate to fly off the house.

The lightning was associated with multiple lines of thunderstorms that rolled through the region. According to the National Weather Service, west central Florida's lightning hazard outlook Wednesday was at a high level, which equates to a frequency 100 to 149 strikes scattered to numerous storms.

Weather Service meteorologists say Florida leads the nation with an average of 1.45 million lightning strikes a year.

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