UPDATE at 2:04 p.m.: A possible third home that residents reported to be struck by lightning turned out to be a false alarm.
Lightning reportedly struck homes not once, but twice around the same time Thursday morning in St. Paul, fire authorities said. St. Paul Fire Marshal Steve Zaccard said, it's the first report of lightning strikes he's heard of this year.
Just before 8 a.m., authorities responded to a lightning strike at a large, two-story home at 1899 Marshall Ave. in the Union Park neighborhood, Zaccard said. When crews arrived, they discovered heavy smoke pouring out from the eaves of the home, which is used as a sober house for 11 residents. Firefighters had to fight the blaze, which was in the attic apartment. It took crews about an hour to put out hot spots in the wall, Zaccard said.
The home's manager, who also lives there, said he saw an outlet explode from the wall and the cord to his window air conditioner melt into two, Zaccard said. Smoke alarms at the home went off and the manager was able to get the other residents out of the building safely. Nobody was injured, but the home suffered about $120,000 worth of damage, Zaccard said.
While crews were fighting the Marshall fire, there was another report of a house being struck by lightning at 1892 Feronia Ave., a little more than a half mile away, Zaccard said. There was smoke but not an active fire at the home when crews arrived. Damage was minor and nobody was injured.
Around 10:30 a.m., lighting reportedly struck a home at 1924 Palace Ave. There wasn't any smoke or fire, Zaccard said. The call turned out to be a false alarm.
"If you think your house has been hit by lightning, get out and go to your neighbor's and call 911," Zaccard said.
Lightning can cause damage to electrical components as well as burn holes in gas pipes and cause other damage, Zaccard said.