Lightning suspected in smoky fire that destroys home in East Manatee

cnudi@bradenton.comAugust 6, 2013 

EAST MANATEE -- A fire Tuesday in the garage of a Creekwood home, possibly struck by lightning, destroyed the home.

Three fire engines from East Manatee Fire & Rescue and one from Southern Manatee Fire & Rescue responded to the blaze at the 4800 block of 77th Street East, which was first reported at 12:41 p.m.

Homeowner Lynn Kenney said she rushed home from work when a neighbor called.

"I had to find out if my dog was OK," Kenney said as she stood across the street watching firefighters clean up.

The dog was taken to the home of a neighbor and was safe.

"This is devastating," Kenney said as neighbors consoled her, "but we will rebuild."

Training Officer Tim Hyden said the fire destroyed the garage and caused extensive smoke damage to the house. He said it was probably caused by lightning.

"There was a lot of lightning in the area," Hyden said. "When we get this type of storm blowing through, that's the first thing we think of."

Larry Dick, who lives in Tara across State Route 70 from Creekwood, was visiting daughter, Terri Lacey, who lives four houses down from Kenney.

"I was leaving to go home, and when I drove by the house, the garage door was open and I saw the fire," he said. "There was so much smoke I couldn't see anything."

Lacey said a loud clap of lightning pealed as her father was leaving.

"I thought it was over my house," she said.

Dick called 911 and the first fire truck arrived in less than five minutes. The fire was contained to the garage, Hyden said, and 15 firefighters extinguished it within five minutes.

Smoke got into the attic and spread throughout the home, causing extensive damage. Lacey said smoke escaped through the eaves of the house.

Hyden did not have an estimated damage amount.

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