Landmark damaged after fire caused by lightning strike in Shavertown

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SHAVERTOWN, LUZERNE COUNTY (WBRE/WYOU) — Fire departments across the country respond to thousands of fires caused by lightning each year.

Recently, four lightning strikes have triggered house fires in Luzerne County’s Back Mountain. The latest one damaged a landmark.

The flames that were shooting from the roof were damaging one of the first known homes built in Shavertown. But before there was fire Monday night on North Lehigh Street, there was a thunderstorm that rattled the neighborhood.

“A horrific clap of thunder and a huge lightning bolt that lit up the whole ground,” neighbor Jim Warrelmann said.

Warrelmann says it startled him and his wife and their pets.

“Of course, my dogs went crazy and we jumped up in the air because we never heard anything… I mean, thunder is thunder but this was, like, right into our yard,” Warrelmann said.

“My house shook. My TVs all went out and then we had seen the flash,” neighbor Charlotte Harvey said.

Harvey and her husband were home with their grandson at the time. She didn’t expect what happened would result in fire.

“No, I didn’t think, but my grandson said in a couple of minutes you’re going to see flames Grandma because that hit that house and he was…he was right,” Harvey said.

A woman and her granddaughter who were inside the home struck by lightning weren’t aware, at first, that the attic was burning. They got out safely.

The tenant has lived here for 28 years. She said she was too emotional to speak with Eyewitness News on camera, but she said while she will miss her home for nearly three decades, she is most appreciative that many of her mementos were saved.

You can thank volunteer firefighters for that and the fact that this home is still standing even though it is so damaged.

“I’ve got to tell you I’ve got to give credit to those firemen. They worked their butt off and they did a hell of a job. They really, really did,” Warrelmann said.

Warrelmann says he’s so impressed with firefighters that he’s considering making a donation. Meantime, the displaced tenant says she has family in the area and will figure out where she will live.

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