Lightning suspected in two Hamilton County fires

Breakwater Driver fire
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Two fires overnight in Hamilton County have investigators looking into lightning strikes as a possible cause.

The first fire was called in around 2:00 a.m. Tuesday by the homeowner in the 200 block of Breakwater Drive, off Brooks School Road, south of 116th Street.  He reported a close lightning strike that activated his burglar alarm and saw fire burning a tree across the street.

Then he discovered smoke and fire in his basement and evacuated with his dog before he called 911.

The second call came in moments later, from a passerby at 206th and Mule Barn Road, where a farmhouse was reportedly engulfed in flames.

According to Ron Lipps of the Fishers Fire Department, investigators suspect a lightning strike in the Breakwater fire, which started in the basement and took fire crews more than an hour to put out.

They were able to contain the fire to the northwest corner of the home, but there was significant fire damage to that area of the first floor and basement and smoke damage throughout the home. Estimated property loss is $260,000, according to Lipps.

Vectren is still on the scene to repair a gas leak in the area of the tree that was struck.

The farmhouse on 206th and Mule Barn was empty.  Westfield Fire crews were first on the scene, and found the two story house fully involved.  Despite tankers trucking in water from Cicero, Sheridan and Zionsville, the house burned to the ground.

Since no witnesses saw the fire start, and there is little structure left to examine, investigators may not be able to positively determine whether lightning caused the farmhouse fire.