Lightning strike leads to heavy fire in Balen: house uninhabitable… (Balen)

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A house in Schoor in Balen was hit by a heavy fire after a lightning strike on Sunday afternoon. The residents were able to flee their homes in time. The entire attic has been destroyed and the house is uninhabitable due to smoke and water damage. Elsewhere in the country, the storm was already heavy. Streets and cellars were flooded in several places.

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The residents of a two-family house in the street Schoor were startled by a loud bang just before 4 pm on Sunday afternoon. “We saw that lightning struck the construction crane opposite and immediately afterwards the electricity went out everywhere,” says resident Guido Melis. “Then we noticed that lightning had struck our roof and it was burning in our attic. We immediately got to safety and called the fire brigade.”

The fire brigade was quickly on the spot. “When we arrived it was already a big fire. With a lightning strike, it can go very quickly,” says Eric Geerinckx of Fire Brigade Zone Kempen. “We immediately started extinguishing the fire. This allowed us to prevent the fire from spreading further on the other half of the two-family house. But the damage is considerable on the right half of the two-family house.”

The roof and attic are completely burned out. © Tommy Maes

That half is completely uninhabitable. “Both the roof and the attic floor have completely burned out,” says Geerinckx. “And there is a lot of smoke and water damage in the top floor and the ground floor. As a result, the house is no longer habitable. The residents can temporarily stay overnight with people in the area and the municipality monitors their situation. The other half has been spared except for smoke and water damage in the attic. The people who live there can return to their homes.”

Three children

The affected residents are a family with three children. “It all happened very quickly. We can’t quite grasp it ourselves yet,” says the mother of the family, who is still deeply impressed. “Luckily, everyone in our family is unharmed. We are now trying to get as much stuff out of the house as possible. Fortunately, we can count on a lot of help from friends in the neighbourhood. But I’m still afraid of the storm that is still to come.”

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