OAK ISLAND, NC (WWAY) -- Lightning is to blame for three house fires last night in Oak Island. One vacation home, valued at nearly $1 million, is considered a total loss.
"I smelled smoke, and at first I thought it was a bonfire on the beach," Oak Island resident Terry Taylor said. "Then I was afraid it was my home, because we had been struck by lightning, and I realized it was the neighbor's home and called 911."
Lightning caused several fires on Oak Island last night, but none worse than the one at 6903 West Beach Drive. The owner of the home, who was not there at the time of the fire, did not want to go on camera, but was very upset. He says his insurance will not cover all of the damage.
A neighbor says if not for the fire department's fast response she may have lost her home as well.
"The fire department kept hoses on my house the entire time while they were fighting the fire, and they protected my house," Taylor said. "We're very fortunate."
As severe weather swept through Brunswick County Monday night, the Oak Island Fire Department says it received multiple calls about fires that started from lightning. Firefighters say they'll be ready again next time mother nature steps up to the plate.
"Last night was a good example for all of Brunswick County, because it's my understanding that we had numerous lightning calls going on in the entire county," OIFD Capt. David Robinson said. "So it's going to be a reminder to us all what lightning can do, mother nature can be devastating."
Firefighters say there was no serious damage to the other homes that caught fire from Monday's weather at 118 Southeast 7th Street, and another at 7501 East Beach Drive.
"No one was there and no injures so we were very fortunate with that respect," Robinson said.
Emergency crews from Yaupon Beach, Southport and St. James all helped the Oak Island Fire Department with the fires.