Families displaced from apartments after lightning strike in Gaithersburg

- On the eve of the Fourth of July, storms brought down trees and sparked fires in the D.C. area.

A family in Gaithersburg was forced out of their apartment on Quince Orchard Boulevard Tuesday night after a lightning strike ignited a fire. Fortunately, they were not at home when the fire broke out at around 6:30 p.m. Tuesday.

When a couple along with their young daughter and her grandmother arrived back to their apartment, they said the oven was on and they couldn't turn it off. They turned off the breakers and that is when they realized there was smoke throughout the apartment.

Moments later, a neighbor came over and told Sarah Acosta and her family that lightning had just struck their unit. The family quickly left and according to fire crews, that is when a fire broke out in their attic.

“It turns out lightning struck on top of my daughter's room and heated up the insulation in between the roof and the ceiling I guess,” said Sarah Acosta. “I’m so blessed that we weren’t there and that we have that neighbor that caught the whole situation.”

Fire officials said several families were displaced because they had to shut off utilities in portions of the building as a safety precaution. The American Red Cross responded to the neighborhood assisting residents.

Another lightning strike caused a tree to fall outside of a house in North Potomac on Tuesday. There was no one home at the time and there was not any serious damage, but fire personnel are taking extra precaution during this time of year as they work to keep these incidents under control.

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