A lightning storm that developed suddenly over Milton Thursday afternoon started a fire inside a home.
It was unclear exactly how the stove caught fire, but the homeowner and a neighbor speculated lightning may have struck a power pole, traveling through a line leading to the house. Once there, they believe it jumped to a ground wire for a gas tank outside that fuels the family's stove.
Norman Black says he was inside his home on Hermitage Circle, when he heard the loud clash of thunder and then discovered a live fire in his kitchen.
"I saw flames coming up from behind the stove," Black says. "They were a few feet high."
Black says the flames continued to grow in his kitchen. He noted there was quite a bit of smoke beginning to fill the inside of the house as he leaped into action.
The homeowner says he rushed to pull the stove out, trying to gain access to the fire so he could put it out. The oven door ripped pulled from the hinges, as he attempted to move it. The tempered glass of the door, rated for high temperature heat, shattered into pieces when Black rested it against a kitchen wall.
Black says he managed to pull the stove out slightly and recognized the source of the fire. He saw a blown gas line spewing flames. He ran quickly outside, barefoot, to shut off the gas line at the tank. As soon as the fuel was gone, the fire was smothered.
The lightning struck a telephone pole outside of the residence, according to fire officials from Skyline Volunteer Fire and Rescue. They surveyed the outside of the home for additional signs of damage.
Chunks of wood from the top of the telephone pole where the lightning struck were discovered laying in the yard by a curious neighbor.
"I saw a flash and then heard a boom," said neighbor Jerry Laughbaum. "I thought at first there was an explosion. It's a good thing (Black) was home or it could have been a lot worse."