Lightning Sparks Several House Fires In Bella Vista

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BELLA VISTA (KFSM) -Four Bella Vista homes were struck by lightning and caught fire Wednesday(March 25) after severe weather swept through the area, according to police.

Police said one of the fires happened around 4 p.m. on Brompton Lane. Ed Stacey and his wife Sue live at the residence, and said they were just pulling into their driveway from vacation when it happened.

"We heard a lightning flash and a clap of thunder and as we came up the road to come into our house, the driveway to pick up our mail and go on down, we saw smoke coming out from the back of our house," Stacey said.

He said lightning hit a nearby tree. The current then travelled through the roots where it came in contact with the house. Fire crews told Stacey the current went through the cable line to the back deck, where it caught fire.

"This is where it went into the house, and it takes a lot of power to do this, it just melted it within seconds," Stacey said.

Stacey said there is a hole in a downstairs bedroom where the ceiling collapsed after firefighters worked to put out the fire. He said there is also standing water in several rooms. He said compared to his neighbor a couple doors down, whose house was destroyed by lightning, he and his wife are feeling lucky.

"We feel like 'hey we're safe' the house is in pretty good shape, it may take a week or two but hey compared to what happened up above, we're just fortunate," Stacey said.

Fire officials said several hours after the fire at the Stacey's house, they were called back to Brompton Lane at 11:15 p.m. for a second call of a house being struck by lightning. They said the home was destroyed by the blaze.

John Longnecker is a friend of the homeowner's, and said she wasn't there when the incident happened. He said the owner, Marlys Rembold, is recovering from a serious car accident she had in November.

"Knowing her, it's going to set her back a little bit, but also with the spirit that she's got, she's going to fight through it," Longnecker said.

Firefighters said the house is no longer livable. Longnecker said after seeing the damage firsthand, he's glad Rembold wasn't around.

"When I think about where she might have been when the lightning struck there, it's probably a blessing that she wasn't there," He said.

Fire officials said crews received a call of two more houses being struck by lightning on Lord Nelson Drive at the same time firefighters were working to put out the Brompton Lane fire. Ron Booth lives on Lord Nelson and said he woke up to the commotion.

"The house shook and there was a loud noise and a bright light and stuff started falling off the walls, and then when we got up to look around, of course we saw the firetrucks and everything across the street and realized there was a little more to it," Booth said.

Officials said the strikes caused considerable damage to the homes, and said no one was injured in the incidents.