Lightning ignites gas line

Published 12:05 am Wednesday, July 11, 2012


Lightning is being credited with a freak fire that destroyed a Pleasant Home Community home Tuesday afternoon.

Firefighters and other emergency personnel were dispatched to the U.S. Hwy. 29 South home of Gwen Prestwood shortly before 5 p.m. When they arrived, the home was totally encompassed in flames.

“The weather is definitely to blame for this fire,” said Chief Deputy David Anderson with the Covington County Sheriff’s Office. “Best we can tell, lightning struck the natural gas line running into the home.”

Employees with Southeast Alabama Gas District worked quickly to cut off the gas supply to the home; however, firefighters from area had to contend with not only the rain, but also the numerous of firearms and rounds of ammunition stored inside the home.

No one was at home at the time of the blaze.

As emergency personnel worked to put out the blaze, family members and friends of the homeowner watched, and at times, cried.

“It’s a sad set of circumstances,” Anderson said.

The home is a complete loss, he said.

Dark storm clouds heralded the incoming storm shortly after 3:30 p.m., and it wasn’t long before the heavy rains came – a scenario that could be repeated today as a 50 percent chance of thunderstorms remains through Friday. According to the National Weather Service, the storms could bring more straight-line winds, frequent cloud to ground lightning and heavy downpours.