SOUTH JORDAN Tracy Shaver was at work when he got the call from his rattled wife and daughter. His house had just been struck by lightning, and the attic and an upstairs bedroom were on fire.
"Everybody in the neighborhood heard it," he said, describing the bolt that struck his home. "The flash and pop were instantaneous."
The wild incident happened about 10 a.m. Thursday at the Shaver home near 11120 South and 2350 West. Shaver's 21-year-old daughter was in her room and his wife in another part of the house when a bolt of lightning hit one of the metal flues on the roof, accompanied by a booming roar of thunder.
Although it didn't blow a hole in the roof, the lightning traveled along the metal flue down into the house and struck the copper water pipes in the attic, causing the electrical charge to spread throughout the house.
"It went down into the basement, blew the pipes out of the hot water heater," Shaver said.
The electricity also found its way into the garage where the cover of the timer to their sprinkler system was blown off. There were marks in the ground outside near the sprinkler heads where the current traveled.
Upstairs, the lightning also started a fire in the attic, which ultimately caused the most damage to the house.
The lightning passed through the house just 10 feet away from Shaver's daughter. She smelled smoke after the strike and immediately alerted her mother and authorities, he said.
If his daughter hadn't been home, Shaver believes, the fire would have burned much longer and the damage would have been worse.
"I'm glad everyone is OK. Thank goodness it didn't hurt her," he said.
While items in the house can be fixed, Shaver said, there's no replacing a family member. The Shavers also have an indoor sprinkler system in their house. The smoke did not set it off, but the heat from the fire melted one of the pipes, causing water to fall on it, he said. The fire was mostly out when firefighters arrived.The attic and bedroom suffered fire, smoke and water damage. Electrical currents and items that run on electricity throughout the house were being tested Thursday afternoon. Shaver said he wasn't sure if the family would be able to stay in the house. There was a possibility one of the trusses may have been damaged, he said.
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