A Regina couple woke up to a strike of disaster, after their house in the 2800 block of Victoria Avenue was struck by lightning and caught fire on Thursday morning.
At around 3 a.m. on Thursday, Aydon Charlton and his wife were woken up by the loud boom of thunder.
Immediately after, smoke alarms blared throughout the house and Charlton smelled smoke coming from the attic.
“What happened was the lightning struck the roof of the house and came in on our fan in the bathroom and started a fire in the attic,” Charlton said.
Charlton says he was stunned from what he saw when he got to the attic — large flames coming down from the ceiling. He tried looking for a fire extinguisher or a bucket of water, but couldn’t find them, so he quickly called the fire department.
“The fan from the bathroom had fallen. It was plastic and it caught on fire, so my wife was trying to put it out and she noticed there were flames above in the attic,” Charlton said.
Charlton says the experience was terrifying.
“She was probably plenty scared; I was more stunned in the moment. I’m more scared thinking of it now than I was at the time.”
Fortunately the couple, who both own the house together, were the only ones in the house and were able to escape without injury.
Regina Fire was able to extinguish the fire in the early hours of the morning with minimal damage to the overall house. However, the house had lost power completely and remnants of the fire’s damage remain.
“There’s some charring of the embers in the attic and in the insulation,” Charlton said.
Lightning strikes may be rare, but Environment Canada says they’re a real concern in Saskatchewan.
“When lightning’s around it’s going to hit something,” said Terri Lang, an Environment Canada meteorologist.
“Sometimes it hits poles, sometimes it hits power lines and sometimes it hits houses. When it hits houses it can start fires.”
Lang says on average, around 200 to 300 Canadians are injured by lightning each year.
If your house does catch on fire from a lightning strike, Environment Canada recommends leaving immediately and calling 911.
And while houses can catch fire, Lang says they’re still the safest place to be in a lightning storm.
“A house, a building, even a car offer the best protection from lightning because there’s no safe place outside during a lightning storm, so you’re safer inside than out.”