Two Working Fires for Schaumburg Fire Department Apparently Caused by Lightning Strikes


A night of spectacular lightning and two house fires caused by lightning strikes in Schaumburg.

After a frightening radar image approaching from northeast Iowa and northwest Illinois, and a tornado warning in Freeport, Illinois; storms in the northwest suburbs were tame by comparison.

But even though storms were tame, they did their damage …

The main event for the northwest and west suburbs last night was frequent and severe lightning, where Schaumburg Fire Department was fighting two working fires simultaneously, just over one mile apart, that were caused by lightning strikes about 11:00 p.m. Lightning after 10:30 p.m. in the area was observed with continuous cloud-to-cloud strokes and frequent cloud-to-ground strikes that persisted through the night.

One house fire was in the 500 block of Dogwood Court, Schaumburg. Firefighters got the fire under control quickly, but not before fire caused enough damage to require a boardup service. A second house fire was in the 300 block of Carmelhead Lane — about 1.2 miles west-northwest of the house on Dogwood Court. The lightning strike at the Carmelhead house may have struck a metal dryer vent low and outside on the wall near the foundation. The fire apparently moved up under the siding toward the attic and roof. Or it may have struck high on the house without igniting, but instead ignited near the low-positioned dryer vent as the lightning went to ground. Serious damage was reported at the house on Carmelhead Lane. A boardup service also responded to the Carmelhead location.

Also in Schaumburg, a chimney was toppled — possibly by a lightning strike (address unknown).

Severe weather and high winds still toppled tree branches near Algonquin Road and Meacham with high winds, and caused power outages in the area up north along Plum Grove Road into Rolling Meadows. Winds in Arlington Heights were not as severe (gusts about 46 mph). Also in Arlington Heights, an inch of rain was worrisome with past flooding, but minimal compared to the 13 inches that fell in Galena.

Lightning also caused a fire at the Parks and Recreation administration building about 12:20 a.m. The damage estimate is $250,000 to the building and $50,000 damage to contents.

Lightning also struck the bell tower in Woodstock that was filmed in the movie ‘Groundhog Day’ starring Bill Murray. There was no fire, but damage was reported to masonry near the observation deck.

For tonight, conditions exist for another round of thunderstorms similar to last night and last Friday night. As the National Weather Service forecaster (Allsopp) reports in the forecast discussion: “much like the last few rounds of thunderstorms with rain … long-lived and likely to last into Friday morning.”

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