A house in the 900 block of Northwestern Avenue in West Lafayette was struck by lightning Saturday evening, causing flames and smoke to erupt in the basement.
The lightning hit the gutter and downspout on the outside of the house at 908 Northwestern Ave., causing a short in the electrical panel in the basement of the house, which ignited the fire, said Lt. Don Callahan with the West Lafayette Fire Department.
Homeowners Brenda and Wayne Chesterman were at home when the lightning struck amid a storm that caused wind damage elsewhere in the county and reports of funnel clouds.
“When it hit, I was sitting in the front room,” Brenda said. “I did see sparks falling from the electrical wire and I thought it had hit the roof.”
Wayne Chesterman said he called 911 at 6:48 p.m., a few minutes after the lightning struck.
Callahan said the fire was contained to the basement. No one was injured, and there was limited smoke and fire damage inside the home. However, firefighters had to remove a portion of exterior siding to get to the fire's source.