Lightning strike sparks fire in Arvada, damage leaves home unlivable

Flames erupted 5 hours after lightning hit

ARVADA, Colo. - It's still hard for Sandra Baca to look at the damage after a lightning strike sparked a fire on her roof Friday night in Arvada.

"The fire department had to dig from the roof down," Baca said. 

The flames and water firefighters had to use to put out the fire caused significant damage to her upstairs bedrooms. She showed us the giant holes in her ceiling, ruined carpet, and wet insulation that now covers most of her bathroom. The City of Arvada has also deemed the property unlivable.

"It's just materialistic stuff, it can be replaced," she explained.

Sandra said her son heard lightning hit their Arvada townhome around 4 p.m. on Friday. The strike took out the power, but at first she said everything appeared fine.

"We looked around the property, we didn't see anything burning," she said.

Five hours later, when Sandra and her son were not inside the property.  Sandra's father, Joseph, who lives across the street, smelled smoke and went outside to investigate with his grandson.

"I didn't have any shoes, we ran over here and that flame, was like 6 to 10 feet high and nothing was happening -- nobody was doing anything," said Joseph Baca. "I said I hope it's not, I hope it's not, but it was my daughter's -- at that point my heart dropped to my knees."

Joseph and his grandson immediately called 911 and began alerting nearby neighbors of the fire.

"That's when I got the phone call from my son that my house was on fire," said Sandra.  "Who thinks lightning is going to strike your home and it's gonna catch on fire in five hours."

Arvada fire crews were able to quickly contain the fire before it spread to any other homes. No one was injured.

"That's a good warning for people when lightning strikes -- call the fire department right away -- don't wait," said Joseph.

Sandra and her family did not have renters insurance, leaving them without furniture or anywhere to live while repairs are made. Right now, the Red Cross is assisting the family by putting them up in a nearby hotel.

If you would like to help the Baca family, they are accepting donations through a PayPal account.  Click here to login or create a PayPal account, the family asks that donations are sent using the email address

Arvada Fire officials said you should always call the fire department if you think your home's been hit by lightning so that crews can assess the damage to insure there is no fire risk.

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