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Lightning storms sparks several house fires: How to protect your family and home

In less than 24 hours, it’s believed an overnight lightning storm sparked four house fires, according to the San Antonio Fire Department.

SAN ANTONIO — The San Antonio Fire Department believes an overnight lightning storm sparked at least four fires in less than 24 hours.

Our KENS 5 photojournalist arrived as firefighters put out a fire on the Northeast side of San Antonio and a viewer submitted a video of a house fire north of Marion, Texas.

According to the National Weather Service, lightning rods can help protect a house or building from a lightning strike by grounding the discharge to help prevent a fire. They note that the rods will not prevent lightning from striking the structure.

A homeowner in Cibolo says a few months ago lightning struck close to home and finalized her decision to install lightning rods.

“Several houses in our neighborhood have burnt down over the past several years and we were terrified every time a lightning storm and a thunderstorm rolled through town, " the homeowner said. She did not want to disclose her name.

Marty Hamilton owns Hamilton Lightning Rods. He says his company installed lightning rods on about a dozen homes in a Cibolo neighborhood after nearby homes were struck by lightning.

He says a house fire sparked by lightning can quickly cause thousands of dollars in damage. 

"The lightning rods up on the roof is basically going to capture the charge,” Hamilton said. “In the event it does hit, it's going to follow this cable."

Hamilton says several rods are installed on each home and connected to wires that are buried into the ground, which will help ground the discharge of a lightning bolt.

The protection system is estimated to cost up to $3,00 for a 2,500 sq. foot home.

“We sleep more soundly at night when storms roll through,” the homeowner said. "Comparing it to what you could lose, it was worth every single penny."

Lightning rods are not required in homes in Bexar or Guadalupe County.

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