Homeowner thankful for help escaping lightning strike fire - KWWL - Eastern Iowa Breaking News, Weather, Closings

Homeowner thankful for help escaping lightning strike fire

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A lightning strike caused a house fire Monday morning -- and one family says, without their neighbors, they would never have known it as soon as they did.

"I was woken up by what sounded like a huge boom in the house," said Kelli Cerruto. "We jumped out of bed, grabbed the kids and started looking through the house."

Cerruto says the strike forced her smoke detectors to sound off.

She says her family of four -- with one more on the way -- searched their home and didn't find anything.

She says she called 911 just in case, but fire crews arrived and didn't find a fire or any damage.

As crews were leaving Cerruto's home, a block up the road, a North Liberty police officer noticed Rick Danover's home was actually struck by lightning -- and Danover didn't even know it.

"A police officer was banging on the door saying that the house was on fire, and we really didn't realize as a family that that was going on," said Danover.

The North Liberty Fire Department quickly drove up the road and  noticed flames and smoke shooting from the Danover's roof.

"We got everybody out of the house -- my son, my daughter and my wife -- and as we went out of the house you could see the flames shooting out of the roof," Danover said.

The damage was limited to the fascia and eaves of the roof between their two- and three-car garage.

Fire Captain Chris Kochanny with the North Liberty Fire Department says this situation shows how critical police and fire crews' teamwork is.

"[Police officers] are usually the first ones on scene, and they help us with rescues and getting people out of the home before the fire grows too big," said Kochanny.

Kochanny says every 30 seconds, a fire doubles in size -- so the timing and quick actions from the officer allowed this to turn out the way it did.

Nothing in the Danovers home was damaged and the family was able to get out safely.

Danover says he's glad that deafening boom from the lightning strike woke up his neighbors -- because if not, he says, things could have been different.

"This stuff can be replaced. Our families cannot be replaced," said Danover.

The Danovers say they have only been living in the home for a month, and are still able to stay there because there is no major structural damage.

While they're still waiting for adjusters to give a total cost of damage, Danover says it appears it is minimal and limited to just the attic and wiring in the roof.

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