Fire officials say lightning caused a house fire in Suwanee on Deville Circle
Suwanee, GA -- Gwinnett County fire officials say lightning is to blame for a house fire on Deville Circle.
It happened during a severe thunderstorm just before 5pm.
Fire Captain Tommy Rutledge said a couple and their two young sons were taking afternoon naps when they received a codeRED warning on their cell phones.
"Suwanee has an alert system that can go to people's home phones or their cell phones. That woke them up then they heard the lightning hit and realized their house was on fire. Fortunately they were able to get out in time," said Capt. Rutledge.
Fire crews arrived within minutes, but already the entire home was engulfed. The roof started sagging so firefighters had to retreat and fight the flames from the exterior.
Ironically a Suwanee city councilman, Doug Ireland, lives just a few houses away. He is one of the elected officials who voted to create that red alert system less that a year ago.
"What prompted us was those big storms that came through last April. We were caught off guard. Suwanee doesn't have any warning sirens and as we looked into what we could do we investigated a number of options. Sirens are really, really expensive so we chose the codeRED system," said Ireland.
It is a free, opt-in service offered to Suwanee residents. Alerts about severe weather, tornado watches and warning and even power outages can be sent via text, phone calls, or email.
"It's pretty wonderful, seeing how the system actually saved someone not just in our city, but right around the corner," said Ireland.