A lesson in trusting your nose during a storm from the Gilbert Fire Department as they tackle a lightning caused house fire (like the one pictured).  Captain Gary Hildebrandt says the homeowner smelled smoke and called the Fire Department, and when crews arrived, they also picked up on heavy smoke, but never saw it. It

wasn’t until crews removed drywall and got into the attic that they found evidence of charring. It was then that the fire department dispatched additional crews to the scene.

Hildebrandt says, what happened is not surprising with lightning sparked house fires. They can burn behind walls, with the flames never coming into view, or go the other way and lead to a more widespread fire. Luckily for the residents, Hildebrandt says, the fire caused minor damage. But he estimates, the damage still adds up in thousands of dollars. Hildebrandt urges us to always call 9-1-1 if you smell burning in the home  but see no flames. He says, better safe than sorry.

–Barbara Villa

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