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Intense thunderstorm causes power outages, lightning fire destroys Edmonton home

An intense thunderstorm blew through Edmonton Sunday night, causing power outages across the city and surrounding municipalities, and leaving one home destroyed by fire.

A storm watch was issued around 2:15 a.m. Monday morning, and was shortly upgraded to a thunderstorm warning.

The storm brought heavy rain along with plenty of thunder and lightning. There was some localized flooding on roadways but so far there are no reports of any serious issues besides a home caught in a lightning fire.

District 4 Chief Brian Williams said crews were busy starting Sunday evening working non-stop through to Monday morning, with some staying overtime to deal with a serious house fire near Riverside Drive.

He said all signs point to lightning as the fire’s instigator. A call came in saying a house had been hit by lightning but crews didn’t see anything suspicious. An hour and a half later, they drove by again to find flames coming up from the roof of the unoccupied home, he said.

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Crews worked diligently to put out the fire and Williams added that lightning fires can be more difficult to get under control.

“Lightning always tries to find the path of least resistance. So, if you look behind us, we’ve got power lines, we’ve got high trees, we’ve got large surface area — whatever the conduit is, it will find its way into the ground and when it hits the ground it spreads,” he said.

Williams, crews and the homeowners were all grateful there was no one inside when the house caught fire.

“Structures can be replaced, people’s lives can’t be,” Williams said.

“It’s been a really busy, interesting, taxing summer for all of our crews. But last night was a bit of a phemon for sure.”

As for power outages, Fortis told Global News it is dealing with multiple power outages due to lightning.

“We currently have local resources on the ground, triaging and restoring power to various outages surrounding Edmonton with the major outages in Nisku, Spruce Grove and Morinville,” a spokesperson for Fortis said.

Power outage updates can be found on this Fortis map.

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