Lightning struck twice one August day

Series: Hinsdale 150 | Story 34

Eight years ago this month, lightning struck twice in Hinsdale on the same day, causing one house to catch fire and destroying the chimney of another.

These excerpts are from the article that ran Aug. 6, 2015.

Shortly before midnight, lightning struck the home at 561 Walker St., causing $75,000 in damage.

"The guys did a great job," Chief Rick Ronovsky said of the firefighters who responded. "They got there and there was fire coming out of the roof of the house."

They located the fire in the cathedral ceiling of a bedroom above the garage.

"They had to pull some of that ceiling down to get to that void space to what was on fire," Ronovsky said. "It didn't take them long, but there was a lot of work involved. Then they had to make sure it wasn't spreading along the top of the roof."

At the same time, lightning struck a chimney on South Grant Street, causing it to crumble to the ground.

The homeowner at 838 S. Grant heard a clap of thunder followed by a loud noise. He went outside and discovered his chimney was on the ground in the yard.

An engine company from the Westmont Fire Department and Chief Pat Kenny from the Western Springs Fire Department, who were already en route to help assist with the Walker Street incident, were redirected to Grant Street. Once on the scene, Kenny determined there was no smoke or fire at the structure. Damage to the home is estimated at about $10,000.

No one was injured in either incident.

Ronovsky is grateful for the assistance from neighboring companies from Clarendon Hills, La Grange, Pleasantview, Western Springs, Westmont, LaGrange Park, Lemont and Oakbrook Terrace.

"Several of the other communities were busy, too," he said. "Everybody that responded, they did a great job."

The two incidents illustrate the unpredictability of lightning strikes, Ronovsky said.

"The energy that lightning bolt creates certainly holds the potential for starting a fire," he said. "It doesn't happen all the time, but it happens. There is no rhyme or reason to it."

Author Bio

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Pamela Lannom is editor of The Hinsdalean