Lightning strike sparks fire at apartment complex
Courtney Sacco | AnnArbor.com
A bolt of lightning started a fire at an Ypsilanti Township apartment complex Friday around 1:30 p.m. as severe thunderstorms rolled through Washtenaw County.
Fire crews were called to the Midtown apartment complex at 1148 West Michigan Avenue after receiving reports of a lightning strike, said Ypsilanti Township Fire Chief Eric Copeland.
There was smoke billowing up from a chimney that had an old antenna attached to it, witnesses said.
Copeland said a blaze spread through an attic, but that firefighters had it quickly under control.
"We were able to get inside and basically knock it all down," he said.
Resident Jerry Ginyard was sitting outside when he heard the thunder and saw the lightning.
"A big old lightning bolt came down," said Ginyard. "It was real bright and hit the chimney. I started seeing smoke so I dialed 911."
Residents Lee Logan and Darryl Barnes, Jr. were also sitting outside at the time of the lightning struck.
"All we saw was a big flash," Logan said.
Witnesses reported being so afraid of the lightning flash that they ran when they saw it.
There were no injuries. The fire did not spread to any of the apartments, but there was water damage. Estimates of damage were not yet available.
The thunderstorm was the second in two days to sweep through the area. Around 2.5 inches of rain fell in Ann Arbor Thursday, creating flooding and traffic problems throughout the city, according to officials.
As of Friday afternoon, more than 4,000 people were still without power in the Ypsilanti and Superior Township area, according to DTE Energy.
Copeland said he hasn't witnessed many fires started by lightning like the one Friday.
"I've never seen anything like this," he said.