Lighting blamed in Greenfield home fire

GREENFIELD — Lightning that accompanied strong thunderstorms across central Indiana on Monday afternoon damaged a home in Greenfield.

Neighbors blamed a lightning strike for a large house fire in the 5600 block of Bur Oak Drive in Greenfield. The storm knocked out power to about 1,500 electric customers countywide.

Shelley Finet of Greenfield called 911 around 1 p.m. Monday after she heard a loud boom and saw smoke coming from the house across the street.

“Oh, my stars, did I jump when I heard it,” Finet said of the lightning believed to have struck the home.

Finet ran across the street to knock on the door, but the homeowners — who declined to comment and whom fire officials had not identified at press time — weren’t there.

Neighbor Electa Campbell said her husband ran down the street with a fire extinguisher to help put out the flames, but the fire already had started to spread. Campbell said she became concerned about homes in the neighborhood after hearing what she described as the loudest boom she’s ever heard.

“It sounded like a bomb going off,” she said.

As neighbors watched firefighters battle the blaze, which started in the back of the house and burned through the roof, they agreed the sound of the lightning strike followed by the fire were no coincidence.

“There is no doubt in my mind that it was lightning,” Bob Ward said. “I ran out of the room it was so bright and loud.”

The storm also caused a tree on the property to fall, damaging a three-car garage. No injuries were reported.

In Greenfield, the storm knocked out power to about 300 Greenfield Power and Light customers west of State Road 9 and U.S. 40.

City Hall was without power for about 90 minutes, said Mayor Chuck Fewell. He thanked crews for working quickly to restore power.

“I give them real credit,” he said. “They’re really quick. I know it doesn’t seem like that when you’re the one without power.”

About 1,400 NineStar Connect customers near Fortville were without power for about a half-hour, marketing director David Spencer said.

Crews believe a lightning strike caused the outage, and they had power restored by 12:30 p.m.

“We got everybody back on in about 15 to 20 minutes,” he said.

Duke Energy reported that about 10 customers were without power from two outages near New Palestine.

Another strong storm was expected to blow through Hancock County on Monday evening. The National Weather Service issued a flash flood watch for Hancock County through this morning.