When Lightning Strikes

Lightning is one of the most beautiful displays in nature. It is also one of the most deadly natural phenomena known to man. With bolt temperatures hotter than the surface of the sun and shockwaves beaming out in all directions, lightning is a lesson in physical science and humility. 

The U.S. Fire Administration estimates that lightning causes 17,400 fires each year, with an average of 10 deaths, 75 injuries and $138 million in property damage.  Two-thirds of these disasters occur between June and August (25 percent in July alone). Most lightning strikes occur outdoors, igniting brush, grass and other materials; 41 percent hit homes and interior structures, zapping roofs, sidewalls, chimneys, framing and electrical wires with up to 100 million volts of electricity.

The damage from lightning striking a chimney will usually take out a large section of brick on the top of the chimney and scatter bricks onto the roof and the ground.  In addition to the outer brick structure being damaged, the inner liner can be damaged as well.  Sometimes, the attic can also sustain smoke damage, depending on the strength of the strike.

The following are some sample pictures of lightning strikes.

Example #1

Example #2



Example #3