COLUMBIA, Tenn. (WTVF) — Lightning has damaged two homes in Columbia.
On Monday evening, lightning hit the first home and the siding caught on fire. A neighbor alerted the people inside and they escaped.
"Nobody was hurt, but the home did sustain fire damage," said Ty Cobb, fire chief of Columbia Fire and Rescue.
After leaving the first home, crews were immediately called to a second home that was struck by lightning. Both of the homes are located near Columbia State Community College.
As you can see in this photo, the arc destroyed the sprinkler system.
An elderly resident lived in the second home that was hit by lightning. They're staying with a friend until the wiring can be inspected.
"Went through the electrical outlets. There was charring in the garage, lots of damage. We had to pull the meter on that home," Cobb said.
Firefighters have some tips to help you stay safe in your home when lightning is detected. "The term we like to use is, 'When thunder roars, go indoors,'" Cobb said.
If you hear thunder 30 seconds after lightning, the storm is nearby. Firefighters urge residents to stay away from concrete floors and walls that contain wire, mesh, or rebar.
"You should also make sure that you stay away from anything like water in the kitchen and showers,” Cobb said. “Stay in the living room, stay in areas where you know you’re safe with four walls."
Don’t touch faucets, fixtures, or metal pipes. In addition, avoid using electronics and appliances that are connected to an outlet. "Corded phones, you don’t want to use that," Cobb said.
Cobb said nearly 50 people are killed by lightning and hundreds are hurt every year.
"Again, this time of year when you have severe weather," Cobb said. "Make sure you’re prepared."