Morning lightning strikes house

A lightning strike early Monday led to a fire that severely damaged a home in western Douglas County.

Lecompton Fire Chief Randy Cheek said the blaze broke out around 5:30 a.m. at a single-story home at 268 U.S. Highway 40, about three miles east of the Shawnee County line.

No injuries were reported at the home owned by Marsha Harrell.

“There is major damage to the structure. The roof is three-fourths gone,” Cheek said.

Firefighters from Tecumseh, Kanwaka and Lecompton townships responded. The fire was brought under control within about 45 minutes.

Cheek said some of the firefighters who lived nearby heard the thunder.

Sue Rosenshein, left, and Scott Foglesong, of Fire District No. 1 in Lecompton, cool down hot spots at a house on U.S Highway 40 near the Shawnee County line. Lightning struck and severely damaged a house during Monday morning's storm. Area volunteer fire departments from Lecompton, Kanwaka and Topeka/Tecumseh were called around 5:30 a.m.

“It must have been a major lightning strike,” he said. “They said it was almost like it knocked them out of bed, it was so loud.”

Cheek said at least one of the residents was at home and was able to get a dog out of the burning house.

Though smoke was filling the house, the firefighters were able to rescue three cats that were hiding in a lower level.

“The fire was burning from the top down,” Cheek said. “(The cats) seemed to be pretty much unharmed.”