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Lightning blamed in St. Petersburg house fire

ST. PETERSBURG — A fire likely caused by a bolt of lightning caused $100,000 in damage, displaced a man and killed a cat Wednesday morning as a heavy rainstorm rolled through the region.

Smoke poured from the home at 2101 14th St. N, belonging to 61-year-old Ed McBride.

McBride was home on his computer when the lightning hit, said St. Petersburg Fire & Rescue Lt. Joel Granata.

After hearing several loud lightning strikes he decided to get up and investigate. He saw smoke coming from a utility closet containing a water heater. When he opened the utility closet, he saw flames, Granata said.

Fire officials believe the lighting hit the house on the other side of the utility closet.

The flames took out one room before burning the garage. A car outside of the garage was also burned, Granata said.

A Progress Energy power line fell behind the house and firefighters were working to cut its electricity.

He said the damage was estimated near $100,000.

Lightning blamed in St. Petersburg house fire 08/10/11 [Last modified: Wednesday, August 10, 2011 2:48pm]
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