Three fires Saturday in Livingston County are suspected to have been caused by lightning strikes, with one of the incidents sending a woman to the hospital after she tried to save her pets.

The first two fires were handled by the Brighton Area Fire Department. Fire Chief Mike O’Brian says the first fire occurred at a home on Pleasant Valley Road, near Larkin, in Brighton Township around 2pm with the garage fully involved in flames upon their arrival. Two men, an older man in a wheelchair who suffered a burn to his hand, and a younger man, were already out of the house when firefighters arrived. O’Brian says the 2-story, wood-frame home suffered extensive damage but was not completely destroyed. Two firefighters suffered heat exhaustion, for which they were treated at the scene. O'Brian says a lightning strike is thought to have started several areas of fire in the home, which made it particularly hard to extinguish.

A second fire was reported about 5:30pm at a home on Pardee Road near Beattie Road in Genoa Township. That fire, which started in the basement, also may have been the result of a lightning strike. Although the family was home when the fire broke out, all managed to get outside safely. O’Brian says about 30% of the one-story, wood-frame home suffered fire damage.

The most serious of the three fires occurred after 8:30 Saturday night in Green Oak Township and destroyed a home on Silver Lake Road. Two residents managed to escape, although a woman reportedly ran back inside to save her pets and suffered burns and smoke inhalation. She was taken to the University of Michigan Hospital. Her condition is unknown. The pets are thought to have died in the fire, in which lightning is also suspected.

Picture courtesy of Green Oak Fire Department.(JK)