Lightning may be to blame for two overnight house fires

Chalmette home goes up in flames, possible lightning strike

SLIDELL, LA (WVUE) - A North Shore family got devastating news while they were on vacation.

Firefighters believe lightning sparked a fire that destroyed their Slidell home. The same severe storms from Thursday night may also be to blame for another house fire in Chalmette.

The Slidell house fire happened in the 300-block of West Honors Point Court.

"Me and my dad came out here to try to see if we could get to the house, to see if anyone was in there, but, by that point, it was too hot to approach the house," said neighbor Tyler Dillon.

Thankfully, no one was home when the massive fire started around 12:30 a.m. Friday morning, but the family who lives there will return from vacation to see their home destroyed.

"We were able to make contact with them, a neighbor contacted one of their relatives who made contact with them and did verify that they were out of town," said Chad Duffaut, the Chief of Fire Prevention for St. Tammany Fire Protection District No.1.

The fire spread to the roof of a neighboring home, but crews were able to keep it from spreading to the rest of house.

"There was a lot of lightning strikes in the area last night, neighbors reported seeing the strikes, feeling their homes shake," Duffaut said.

Thursday night's nasty weather caused problems in Chalmette too. The Chief of the St. Bernard Parish Fire Department said it's possible lightning caused a fire at a house on Palmisano Boulevard. Many in the neighborhood know it as the "castle house."

"I mean this is a landmark for us here in Chalmette, the castle on Palmisano, and it's gone now like everything else," said neighbor Suzi Kline.

It's especially tough to see for Cythia Murphy, who says she used to live there. "I raised my kids here and it's just sad to see it go, a lot of memories," said Murphy. "I just keep thinking about how beautiful it was at one time."

We're told no one was inside at the time. The house was being renovated.

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