Routt County family OK after lightning strike damages house Sunday night

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— The combination of wind, snow and thundersnow in the Yampa Valley this weekend kept local firefighters and emergency crews busy.

It started Saturday when high winds reignited an agriculture burn west of Hayden that was thought to be already out.

West Routt Fire Protection District Chief Dal Leck said the small grass fire quickly was contained.

Firefighters in Hayden were called Sunday night to a report of power lines that were thought to have been blown down by high winds.

Also on Sunday, the spring thunderstorm created more problems near Steamboat Springs.

Firefighters from Steamboat were called at 7:46 p.m. to help fight a house fire northwest of Steamboat in the Elk River Valley that was caused by a lightning strike.

“The strike did significant damage to the house, not necessarily burning, but it just blew (pieces of) the house apart,” Fire Marshal Jay Muhme said before he described damage that ranged from melted wires to some holes in the roof.

A family inside the house wasn't injured when the lightning struck, but Muhme said the blast was significant enough to turn pieces of sheet rock inside the home into shrapnel.

“It sent pieces of sheet rock across a room and embedded them on the other side,” Muhme said. “It was really strange. It was very unique. It followed some of the coaxial cable down the walls and blew the sheet rock off of them.”

The family did not want to publicly discuss the incident when contacted by the Steamboat Today on Monday.

Muhme said the homeowner was able to put out the fire left behind by the strike with a fire extinguisher.

“He did a good job of saving his house,” he said.

To reach Scott Franz, call 970-871-4210, email scottfranz@SteamboatToday.com or follow him on Twitter @ScottFranz10

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