Lightning sparks Milton house fire

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MILTON, Ga.,None —

A Milton home caught fire when it was struck by lightning Wednesday morning.

Channel 2’s Sophia Choi went to the home on Birmingham Road, where Milton firefighters extinguished the fire. The road was shut down while crews cleared the scene.

Dr. John Pearson, who works in Northside Hospital's emergency room, said he was asleep when lightning struck, and he would have slept through it if it hadn’t been for his wife.

“The only thing I remember is my wife waking me up hysterically, ‘Did I hear a loud noise?’ and I didn't, and she started saying she smelled smoke,” Pearson said.

He soon realized the house had caught fire.
 
“I could see orange up through the vents in our attic, so I could tell there was a fire,” Pearson said.

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He then called for help and used a fire extinguisher. Then, while his wife, Jackie, grabbed their kids, 7-year-old Nick and 4-year-old Morgan, Pearson grabbed other essentials.

“They were crying, didn't know what was going on, but we had to get them out, get some clothes and phones and wallets,” Pearson said.

He also grabbed an oil painting.

“She made me take it off the walls and bring it with us," Pearson said.

Firefighters arrived shortly before 6:30 a.m. and kept the flames from spreading beyond the attic. Milton Fire Chief Mark Stephens was surprised to learn the fire was sparked by lightning.

“Lighting actually is more prevalent in the summer months.  It's very rare to have lighting strike this time of year. Typically, fires in the winter are caused by heating devices, not lightning,” he said.

Pearson said he’s just thankful his family is OK.

“There's smoke and soot throughout the house, but it could have been a lot worse,” Pearson said.

He said the house is equipped with smoke detectors, but they did not go off. The fire chief said that's because the fire was in the attic, above the smoke detectors.