BASKING RIDGE, NJ - The round of heavy thunderstorms that passed through the area Wednesday afternoon produced a lightning strike on a South Finley Avenue home that started a fire that burned for more than an hour and caused "substantial" structural damage. No injuries were reported.
Reports said the Bernards Township Fire Department and other emergency services responded to a call at about 2 p.m. on Wednesday at 327 S. Finley Ave. for a reported structure fire following the lightning strike.
Bernards Township police said the homeowner was inside the home at the time of the fire, and called 9-1-1 after he observed flames accompanied by smoke inside the house following a loud thunder clap.
Police patrols initially arrived at the scene and observed smoke and fire visible from the roof of a single story residential home, according to the report from township police. Apparatus and personnel from the Basking Ridge Fire Company arrived shortly thereafter and were able to knock the fire down, police said. The fire was declared under control a short time later.
It took about an hour for firefighters to knock down the initial three-alarm blaze, police said.
A severe thunderstorm had been moving through the area at the time and lighting is suspected to have contributed to the cause, the police report said.
However, later on Wednesday police said the fire is still under investigation, although the cause was not being considered suspicious at that time.
There was substantial damage to the home, police said.
Responding agencies included: Basking Ridge Fire & EMS, Liberty Corner Fire Co., Liberty Corner Fire Company, Liberty Corner EMS, Lyons VA Fire Dept., Far Hills Bedminster Fire Department, New Vernon Fire Department, Somerset County Office of Emergency Management, Bernards Township Police, and Bernards Township Office of Emergency Management.