Boy escapes after house catches fire

A Genoa-Kinston fire truck remains in the driveway Monday of a home at 30681 Lincoln Road in Genoa after lightning started a fire at the residence earlier in the morning. A 12-year-old boy was the only one home at the time and he was able to escape unharmed.[]

GENOA – Smoke detector for the win – although lightning caused a significant loss Monday morning.

A 12-year-old boy was alone at his family’s house in the 30000 block of Lincoln Road when lightning struck the house and set it on fire Monday morning, DeKalb County Sheriff Roger Scott said. A news release from his office said the Genoa-Kingston Fire Department received a report about 6:08 a.m., and that the boy was awakened by smoke detectors and able to get out unscathed.

Lightning started the chimney on fire, which spread through the attic, Genoa-Kingston Deputy Fire Chief Ryan Stoffregen said, and although firefighters responded and got the fire under control quickly, he said the house is uninhabitable. He said a mother and three of her children – two of whom are in college – lived at the house, and that the Red Cross is helping them relocate.

While a for sale sign is in the front yard of the two-story, five-bedroom house, Stoffregen said nothing points toward foul play – that the child reported the lightning strike, and that neighbors reported seeing and feeling it.

“Everything matches up – the timeline, the way the lightning hit and spread down the chimney,” he said. “We have no reason to believe this was anything other than a lightning strike.”

Scott said the boy’s 19-year-old sister was there in the morning but had left for school shortly before lightning hit the house, and that the boy typically goes to a neighbor’s house when he wakes up in the morning.

The release said the DeKalb, Sycamore, Kirkland Hampshire, Marengo, Union, Kirkland, Cortland, Cherry Valley and Belvidere fire departments assisted, along with the State Fire Marshal’s office.