Firefighters Say Lightning Strike Ignited Home's Tubing


Firefighters said a lightning strike that zapped a home on Monday evening ignited a common type of tubing that can pose serious danger.

Earlier this year, 10 Investigates reported that corrugated stainless steel tubing, or CSST, can become problematic if a home is struck by lightning.

A strike can send electrical current through the home and into the CSST. Once the current reaches the tubing, the electricity can cause the CSST to spring small leaks. When that occurs, the line ignites and pressure can send fire spewing into a home.

Plain Township Fire Marshal Terry Guthrie said that's what happened Monday night at a home in New Albany, 10 Investigates' Paul Aker reported.

"A pinhole leak; that's what started the fire," Guthrie said.

Guthrie said a man inside the home was awakened by his smoke detectors. After getting everyone out of the home safely, he went into the basement and discovered flames.

"He got everybody out of the house," Guthrie said. "He went down to the basement to investigate and saw a fireball in a space above the floor space."

About a year ago, Cliff and Charlene Nutters' Groveport home caught fire after a lightning strike. It was just one of two-dozen lightning-related CSST fires that 10 Investigates uncovered since 2003.

Improper electrical grounding often contributes to the danger, Aker reported.

Guthrie said that his inspection showed the home struck Monday night had CSST that was grounded. Still, he said it was another reason why homeowners with the tubing should be cautions.

"(There's) no way to make it bulletproof," he said.

People who have CSST in their homes should first make sure the tubing is properly grounded. If someone is not sure, they should call an electrician.

Guthrie said people could also consider putting lightning rods on their homes for extra protection, Aker reported.

The company that producers CSST said its product is very safe when properly installed.

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January 19, 2009: Your Home Could Be Lightning Rod For Fire