VIDEO: Aftermath damage and witness account from neighbors who saw lightning strike their neighbor’s house and destroy the chimney and parts of the roof and a skylight.
Arlington Heights police and firefighter/paramedics responded about 9:50 a.m. Friday to a lightning strike that destroyed a chimney of a house in the 2200 block of Amhurst Court.
The residents of the house had just stepped out and weren’t home, but neighbors next-door witness the whole lightning strike. A family was observing heavy rain coming out of their gutter near a rear kitchen window when a red streak came suddenly across their view from right-to-left (west-to-east). The sudden horizontal streak of lightning instantly destroyed the chimney of the house just to the south of their yard. Sparks were flying, and the family headed for the basement. Another neighbor described the red streak like a meteor. One of the boys at the house also noticed a red glow while he was upstairs. He also heard a crackling noise like a spark immediately before the simultaneous boom and flash. Their own phone adapter sustained some type of damage. Also, a battery-powered clock hanging on the back wall — closest to the stricken house — stopped dead at 9:46 a.m. Fragments of bricks from the chimney of the stricken house also littered their back yard, and were discovered later.
The family immediately called 9-1-1. Firefighters were called seconds earlier for another lightning strike at an apartment building. Fire engines were re-routed and Prospect Heights and Buffalo Grove firefighters were called for help to responded into Arlington Heights.
Above the roofline of the house, the flue was standing unstable with all of the brick and mortar blown away. Firefighters arrived and were concerned if a fire had started inside the attic or other part of the house. The residents of the home returned quickly and firefighters entered the home and inspected it thoroughly. The glass screen at the fireplace was shattered and blown across the family room. A skylight over a second floor bathroom was also shattered — probably from the concussion of the lightning and thunder blast. Firefighter found no fire.
The unstable flue was knocked over by firefighters to reduce the risk of any injuries from falling materials. A tarp was also placed over the skylight.
A crew from X-eSS Exteriors, Inc. was on the scene within two hours to assess the damage and further secure the roof and chimney from additional water damage.