Lightning strike causes house fire in Goddard

By Gabriella Dunn
Wichita Eagle – May 25, 2015

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Lightning from severe thunderstorms Monday afternoon sparked a fire at a home in Goddard, and floodwaters swept an SUV off the road in Crawford County.

Lightning struck the back of the roof on a one-story house in Goddard at around 3:30 p.m. Eddie Fajardo, division chief for the Sedgwick County Fire Department, said the fire started on the roof line and spread to the soffit, or the overhang on the house.

The house was down the street from Sedgwick County Fire Station 35, so rescuers got to the scene shortly after the fire was reported.

“Luckily, they got it stopped on the back side,” Fajardo said.

Rescuers put out the fire within a couple of hours. Fajardo said investigators were still surveying the damage but that the house is likely livable.

“We had a little bit of a problem tearing into the roof because of the peaks of the ceilings and stuff inside, but we got it all torn out,” he said.

The house had vaulted ceilings, which Fajardo said make it harder to control the fire because of less attic space.

He said he didn’t know how many people were in the house at the time of the fire but that no one was injured.

In Crawford County, a 1993 Jeep Wrangler was swept off the road and then submerged in water off the roadway, according to a news release from the Crawford County Sheriff’s Department.

The incident happened on 520th Avenue, about half a mile west of 70th Street. The call reporting the incident came in at 2:08 a.m.

The news release identified the driver and three passengers. One of the passengers, Matthew Gath of McCune, managed to get out of the car and went to a nearby residence to call for help. Crawford County Emergency Management Services personnel rescued the driver, Terry R. Gath of McCune, and the other two passengers, Terry L. Gath of Scranton, Ark., and Rebecca Gath of Altamont. Rebecca Gath was transported to Via Christi Hospital with minor injuries. Officials could not be reached for an update on her condition.

The Wichita area might see a respite in rainfall on Tuesday and Wednesday, said Brad Ketcham, meteorologist for the National Weather Service in Wichita, but stronger chances for rainfall are expected Thursday and Friday.

“With this kind of flow pattern, this kind of tropical air mass laying around, there will be chances (of rain) every day,” Ketcham said.

Contributing: Jerry Siebenmark of The Eagle

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