Lightning struck at least twice in York County, causing fires at houses in East Manchester Township and in Red Lion as a thunderstorm swept through the area Wednesday.
A family of five is temporarily displaced after lightning struck the third-floor area of their home at 948 Second St. in East Manchester Township shortly before 3:30 p.m.
There were no injuries to family members or their pets, which include reptiles, dogs and cats, said Fire Chief Ryan Brenneman with Eagle Fire Co.
The American Red Cross is assisting the family, he said.
The family was warned of the fire by a neighbor who saw smoke coming from their home. The family had already called 911 to report that the lights in their home were flickering, Brenneman said.
He said firefighters arrived at the scene about 3:30 p.m. and knocked down flames in about 20 minutes. They cleared the scene at 5 p.m., he said.
Brenneman said the fire caused about $30,000 in damage and was contained to a third-floor bedroom area. Firefighters had to open the roof and remove several windows to ventilate the building. There is water and smoke damage on the second floor, where most of the bedrooms are, he said.
In Red Lion, lightning struck the chimney of a home on East Avenue near the Lemon Lane intersection about 4 p.m. The lightning strike caused a fire ball, which burned the chimney, said Fire Chief Joseph Yahnke of Leo Independent Fire Co.
"A neighbor saw it and called it in," he said. "The chimney is destroyed. We got the bricks off the roof so they wouldn't fall on anybody."
There were no injuries, he said. The residents were not at home at the time. Firefighters were on the scene for about 40 minutes, Yahnke said.
Besides the lightning strike, the area was pelted with hail, rain and wind, he said.
As many as 300 customers lost power during the storm, according to Met-Ed's report on its website. By 11 p.m., there were about 35 customers without power.
The storm brought in less than a half-inch of rain, according to the National Weather Service.
There were car crashes throughout the county during Wednesday's storm, including four in the East Manchester Township area. Brenneman said three vehicles all crashed about 4:30 p.m. in the 4200 block of North Sherman Street Extended. He said is did not know whether the crashes were part of a chain reaction.
The crashes occurred as traffic backed up after the first vehicle crash, Brenneman said. A fourth crash occurred on nearby Starview Road, where traffic was being guided around the scene of the other three crashes, he said.
There were no injuries in the four crashes, according to Brenneman.
-Reach Eyana Adah McMillan at firstname.lastname@example.org.