Lightning believed to be cause of weekend Oak Hill house fire

Photos for Headline Surfer /  A firefighter is shown by a firetruck as other firefighters out of view fought flames shooting through the roof of a structure fire at 1520 Maytown Road in Oak Hill, Florida, 3:30 p.m. Saturday,  Aug. 5. 2017. The massive flames quickly caused the roof to cave in and the concrete block home was destroyed, The lone occupant at the time, who heard a boom, escaped just in time before flames began to consume the roof, forcing it to cave in. None of the 22 responding firefighters were injured either.
 
By HENRY FREDERICK
Headline Surfer

OAK HILL, Fla. -- Lightning was the apparent cause of a Saturday afternoon fire that had rolling bright orange flames shooting 20 feet into the air from the roof before everything just caved in as firefighters kept the blaze contained to the Maytown Road Home, which was destroyed.

"A person in the house at the time exited after hearing a loud boom and seeing smoke during a lightning storm," said, Pat Kuehn, a Volusia County spokeswoman, on Sunday, nearly 24 hours after the 3:30 p.m. blaze that destroyed a modest concrete block home at 1520 Maytown Road.

That person who escaped unharmed was Greg Wilks, whose parents own the home built 17 years ago. He told reporters he he called 9-1-1 tried putting out the flames with a garden hose, but it had all the potency of a plastic squirt gun as the rolling flames just grew in intensity before shooting straight up in the air as they hungrily licked the roof until it fell through the house and caused fire to race along the interior walls.

The loud boom, followed by thick smoke smoldering on the roof, and then the rapid eruption of flames, had all the hallmarks of a lightning strike, Kuehn said she was was was later told by firefighters on scene. 

When firefighters arrived moments after several 9-1-1 calls, they quickly discovered a quarter of the home was on fire, Kuehn said, adding, "They entered the home to begin an interior attack but were forced to exit when the roof collapsed."

Flames shoot through the roof of a home on Mayton Road in Oak Hill, FL on Saturday before it collapses / Headline SurferGreg Wilks sees the rubble of his Oak Hill home cause by a lightning strike that led to the home engulfed in flames / Headline Surfer"A person in the house at the time exited after hearing a loud boom and seeing smoke during a lightning storm," said, Pat Kuehn, a Volusia County spokeswoman, on Sunday, nearly 24 hours after the 3:30 p.m. blaze that destroyed a modest concrete block home at 1520 Maytown Road.

That person, who escaped unharmed was Greg Wilks, shown here in the forefront, whose parents own the home built 17 years ago. He told reporters he called 9-1-1 on his cell phone and then tried putting out the flames with a garden hose, but it had all the potency of a plastic squirt gun as the rolling flames just grew in intensity before shooting straight up in the air as they hungrily licked the roof  until it fell through the house and caused fire to race along the interior walls.​

The loud boom, followed by thick smoke smoldering coming from the roof, and then the rapid eruption of flames, had all the hallmarks of a lightning strike, Kuehn said she was was was later told by firefighters on scene. 

When firefighters arrived moments after several 9-1-1 calls, they quickly discovered a quarter of the home was on fire, Kuehn said, adding, "They entered the home to begin an interior attack but were forced to exit when the roof collapsed."

Volusia County Fire Rescue the lead agency, with mutual aid assistance from New Smyrna Beach, Edgewater and northern Brevard County. In all there were nearly two dozen firefighters on scene.

Volusia County Battalion Chief Justin Hughes said the fire was brought under control at 4:30 p.m. and fully extinguished just after 5 p.m.

No injuries were reported, and no pets were in the home. The American Red Cross was called in to offer temporary housing.  

Chrissy Moore, who was not home when the fire erupted, returned shortly thereafter, was in tears as she stood with the unnamed occupant who got out safely, along with other loved ones, friends and neighbors for several hours for firefighters to eventually bring out what would be too few salvaged items once the flames were fully doused.

Wilks' parents, Gregory and Donna “Kay” Wilks, are listed in county property appraiser's web site as the owners of the house. 

  
  

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Short Bio

Henry Frederick is publisher of Headline Surfer®, the award-winning 24/7 internet news outlet covering the Daytona Beach-Sanford-Orlando metro area via HeadlineSurfer.com. A longtime cops & courts reporter focused on breaking news & investigative reporting, Frederick is among the Sunshine State's most experienced reporters, having amassed dozens of journalism-industry awards. Frederick is enrolled online at Full Sail University in Winter Garden, FL, where he's a third of the way though the Master of Arts program in New Media Journalism. His graduation will be in March 2018.