Beaufort News

Lightning strikes cause damage to homes on Lady's Island, Burton

Photo by Margery Boyle, Special to the Gazette, Packet | The home of Brian and Dawn Bartholf on Tuscarora Avenue on Lady's Island was destroyed by a fire caused by a lightning strike Wednesday.
Photo by Margery Boyle, Special to the Gazette, Packet | The home of Brian and Dawn Bartholf on Tuscarora Avenue on Lady's Island was destroyed by a fire caused by a lightning strike Wednesday. Margery Boyle, Special to the Packet

Lightning strikes sparked a pair of fires Wednesday, one that destroyed a home on Lady's Island and another that badly damaged a house in Burton, local fire officials say.

Firefighters from the Lady's Island-St. Helena Fire District were called at about 4:30 p.m. to a structure fire on Tuscarora Avenue on Lady's Island, said Lee Levesque, district spokesman.

Levesque said the house in the Pleasant Point neighborhood was struck by lightning, which sparked a fire on the home's roof that quickly spread to lower levels.

"The fight was extremely difficult, as the roof collapsed in on the structure, causing fire to spread even more rapidly as fighters fought ... to save all they could," Levesque said. "In the end, the fire had taken a strong hold of the home ... and only a few personal effects could be saved."

Three residents of the home, where Brian and Dawn Bartholf live with their two children, escaped before firefighters arrived and were uninjured, according to authorities. Brian Bartholf was not home at the time of the fire, according to Levesque.

The Palmetto Chapter of the American Red Cross provided the family with financial assistance to help replace food and clothing lost in the fire, according to a Red Cross spokeswoman.

BURTON FIRE

Firefighters from the Burton Fire District were called at about 4 p.m. to reports of a structure fire on Grackle Lane near Laurel Bay, said Dan Byrne, district spokesman.

"The family said they felt the house get struck by lightning and started smelling smoke coming from the roof and attic areas of the home," Byrne said.

Byrne said fire damage was limited to the roof and attic, but the rest of the home sustained substantial smoke and heat damage.

A 20-month-old child living in the house was transported by county EMS to Beaufort Memorial Hospital for smoke inhalation, Byrne said.

Firefighters were on scene for about three hours.

The Red Cross' Palmetto Chapter provided the family of three displaced by the fire with lodging in a nearby hotel and helped replace food and clothing destroyed in the fire.

BLUFFTON FIRE

Also Wednesday, Bluffton Township Fire District crews responded at about 10:30 p.m. to a fire at a home on Hidden Lakes Circle in Bluffton.

The small blaze was contained to an upstairs bedroom, where it is believed to have started, according to a district news release.

No injuries were reported. The fire is under investigation, according to the release.

Reporter Cassie Foss contributed to this report.

Follow reporter Patrick Donohue at twitter.com/ProtectServeBft.

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