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Lightning strike leads to fire

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Gazette staff
May 3, 2012
— A lightning strike that started a fire at a Beloit Township home Wednesday caused $25,000 damage, the Town of Beloit Fire Department reported.

According to a news release:


Town of Beloit and town of Turtle firefighters were called at 6:41 a.m. to 2425 S. Lookout Drive. Firefighters found a fire on the backside of the home near the chimney and smoke in the attic.


The fire was quickly extinguished, but firefighters monitored the scene for more than an hour.


An investigation showed lightning had apparently struck the outside of the home near the chimney, and the electrical current flowed through wiring or the metal part of the chimney, causing a fire on the exterior wall.


Homeowner James J. Koepke told firefighters he saw the lightning and heard the thunder at the same time. It shook the house and caused power to go out, he said.


Koepke found the home's main breaker tripped and frozen in place. Outside, he noticed smoke coming from the soffit area near the chimney.


Koepke and his 21-year-old daughter evacuated the home and called 911.



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