Lightning strikes 2 Lake Hallie homes, causes gas leak in 1 home - WQOW TV: Eau Claire, WI NEWS18 News, Weather, and Sports

Lightning strikes 2 Lake Hallie homes, causes gas leak in 1 home

Updated:

Lake Hallie (WQOW) - No one was seriously hurt after lightning struck two homes in Lake Hallie Wednesday.

Lightning first hit a TV cable box inside a home on 44th Avenue, according to the Chippewa Fire District. Officials told News 18 they checked the attic and removed part of the inside wall. The flames didn't spread, and there was minimal damage.

While fire crews were on scene for that incident, a neighbor approached them and said she smelled natural gas coming from her basement.

Officials said when they went into her home, they could hear the leak and quickly found a build-up of gas in the basement. They said lightning also struck that home and followed a gas line into the house, causing a leak at the furnace. The gas was shut off, and the family was safely evacuated.

"I think it's pretty fortunate that we were awake at the time and that we were able to smell it right away," homeowner Randy Johnson said. "We actually just had a newborn baby two weeks ago. So, it's not something you want a newborn baby, or 2-and-a-half year old kid being exposed to too long."

Officials said if you smell gas in your home to not touch the lights or try to change anything. "You take yourself, your spouse, your children, and if you feel the need, your pets, just leave the house, shut the door behind you and dial 911. Just walk away from the house," said Deputy Chief John Andersen, with the Chippewa Fire District.

Xcel Energy said one of their workers was taken to the hospital after he was shocked while working at the scene. Xcel said he was released before too long and returned to work.


Posted July 20, 2017 at 11:20 a.m.:

Chippewa Valley (WQOW) - Hundreds of customers in the Eau Claire area were without power Wednesday night after severe storms ripped through the region.

An Xcel Energy spokesperson told News 18 on Thursday morning that about 600 to 700 customers were without power Wednesday evening. She said power was restored late Wednesday night.

News 18 reported Wednesday night there were two homes in Lake Hallie that were hit by lightning.

According to the Chippewa Fire District, two homes on the 1300 block of 44th Avenue were struck by lightning. Crews said they are unsure if it was one lightning strike or two that hit both houses.

They said one of the homes had the lightning strike follow their gas line, causing a gas leak. Power and gas to both homes were disconnected. The American Red Cross assisted both families.

An Xcel Energy employee was injured while servicing the homes, but an Xcel Energy spokesperson told News 18 that the lineman was released and is okay.


Posted on July 19, 2017 at 9:47 p.m.:

Chippewa Valley (WQOW) -- Severe storms ripped through the region Wednesday afternoon, with winds in Eau Claire reaching up to 40 miles power hour.

On Chippewa Street, heavy winds toppled a tree, which took down a power line and knocked out power to the area.

"My electric went out, and I peaked out the door to see what was going on -- and the wind was blowing like there was no tomorrow" said Eau Claire resident Christina Amaral.

Xcel Energy said nearly 700 customers in the Eau Claire area were still without power at 10:00 p.m. Wednesday night. Xcel Energy said, due to pending storms, they had to leave some residents without power for the night.

In Lake Hallie, two homes on the 1300 block of 44th Avenue were hit by lightning. The Chippewa Fire District said they are unsure if it was one lightning strike or two. One of the homes had the lightning strike follow their gas line, causing a gas leak. Power and gas to both homes were disconnected until they can be inspected. The American Red Cross is helping both families.

An Xcel Energy employee was injured while servicing the homes, but an Xcel Energy spokesperson told News 18 that the lineman was released and is okay.

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