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Lightning Causes Fire At Joplin Apartment Complex - KOAM TV 7

Lightning Causes Fire At Joplin Apartment Complex

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Joplin, MO -

Officials say lighting caused a structure fire in Joplin.  No one was hurt, but officials are trying to determine exactly where the lighting struck.

The fire was at College View Apartments on College View Drive, near Missouri Southern State University.  Neighbors say they heard a loud noise, then saw smoke coming from the apartment complex.  Firefighters checked out the attic of the complex.  

Joplin's fire chief says recent storms had the potential to be dangerous.

"They can be," says Chief Jim Ferguson.  "I've noticed these storms over the last few days have had some ridiculously brutal lighting, I mean I've seen some lightning strikes that I haven't seen in quite some time.  We just urge everyone to take caution, be prepared, and situation awareness is the key in these types of events."

"If lightning hits the ground, it can travel along conduit into the house, it can actually travel through the ground into the house.  So we don't actually know if it actually hit the building or something in close proximity to the building," says Ferguson.

"There's fire extinguishers spread-out through the building," says Phillip Green, a nearby resident.  "And we grabbed a few, and they kind of sprayed it to where it cooled down the fire, but it was smoking even more.  And then everyone started calling 911."

Firefighters say it appears there was minimal damage.

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