Lightning Strike Sparks Fire at Vacant Oconee County House

Oconee County volunteer firefighters spotted the blaze at 1541 Kirkland Road Wednesday, the fire chief says.

A couple of Oconee County volunteer firefighters who just happened to be traveling along Kirkland Road Wednesday afternoon noticed smoke billowing from an unoccupied house.

"They spotted it and called in the fire department," Fire Chief Bruce Thaxton said. The house was completely engulfed in flames by the time the fire was discovered, but the woman living in the trailer next door hadn't realized it yet.

"Our main concern was to try to protect the trailer, and a tractor on the other side of it," he explained.

Stations 1 and 5 responded, along with all five tankers, because there was no access to water, Thaxton said.

The trailer and abandoned house are located on the same property. A family member told Oconee Patch the house had been unoccupied since 1985 when the land was purchased, and that the electricity had been turned off to try to avoid a fire.

Thaxton said lightning hit a nearby tree, which sparked the fire.

A section of Kirkland Road was closed for about 45 minutes.


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Kate McDaniel July 19, 2012 at 02:05 PM
Fantastic photos of the fire of abandoned house, Stephanie. Kate McD
Stephanie Gross July 19, 2012 at 03:26 PM
Thanks, Kate. Would you believe I only had my iPhone with me? I had accidentally left by camera at home. The firefighters and other first responders did an excellent job protecting the trailer. I'm always impressed by their work and dedication.


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