Homeowner recalls house fire sparked by lightning

SPARTANBURG COUNTY, S.C. (WSPA) – A collapsed roof, scorched attic, and the sight of several fire crews — it’s an experience that Bryan Seay hasn’t seen in all his years.

“I’m 90 years old and this is the first fire I’ve ever had,” he said. He says he and his wife were watching television this afternoon when a storm rolled through. “We were sitting down in the den when we heard a loud crack of thunder.” After a few minutes, he says they smelled something burning – but didn’t realize it was their house.

“We had a roast in the oven so I went to check it and it was fine and walked down the hall and smoke was coming out of the ceiling,” he said.

He then rushed to call 9-11. Crews from Pacolet, Glendale, Croft, and Converse were quickly on scene.

“It’s pretty extensive, the entire attic is charred,” said firefighter Robert Brown. He says the fire was caused by a lightning strike — which isn’t out of the ordinary during storms.

“Apparently, it hit the top of this house, but I’ve seen it hit the front steps on a house and knock the piers out from the foundation,” he said. Within the same time frame, fire crews also responded to another call of lightning striking a house. They say that a home a few miles away on Montgomery Drive didn’t catch on fire. “In an electrical storm with lightning, you can expect these kinds of calls.”

This call left Bryan Seay without the home he’s lived in for more than 30 years.

“It looks to me like it’s a total loss,” he said. He says thankfully, he and his wife were not seriously hurt and the items they lost can always be replaced.

The National Fire Protection Association reports lightning causes more than 4-thousand house fires on average every year.

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