Lightning strike likely caused Grandin fire


Grandin Village residents got an electrifying start to their weekend Friday when an apparent lightning strike started a fire in their neighbourhood.

St. Albert firefighters hosed down the second floor of 208 Grandin Village late Friday morning after residents reported that it was on fire due to an apparent lightning strike.

“I was home with the boys and I heard a huge bang with a flash, and it happened at the same time,” said neighbour Carrie Kuzik.

“It was loud and it was pretty scary.”

The probable lightning strike happened at about 11:30 a.m., she estimated.

Kuzik said she texted 208 Grandin Village owner Ashley McIsaac moments later to ask if she had heard the bang.

McIsaac, who was off-site when the strike happened, said she heard a “huge crash” when she was paying for her groceries. When she got home, she smelled smoke, and went upstairs to see a haze of smoke everywhere.

About five minutes after her text, Kuzik said McIsaac was at her door telling her about the smoke. They called 911, and fire crews were on scene within minutes.

Firefighters saw smoke coming out from under the eaves and through the second-floor window of the condo unit on arrival, but no flames, said acting platoon chief Steve Ganton. After ripping up a few square feet of siding beside the second-floor window, they determined that the fire had not spread, and extinguished the smouldering wood with a bit of water.

“We’re still investigating the cause of the fire,” Ganton said, but crews were pretty sure this was caused by either lightning or the home’s old aluminum-style wiring. Lightning-related fires aren’t uncommon in St. Albert, he added.

Apart from the hole in her roof and bedroom, McIsaac said she wasn’t sure of the condition of her house as of Friday afternoon as firefighters were still investigating it. Despite being displaced for the day (they had arrangements to stay elsewhere), she and her common-law husband Jayson were in good spirits.

“This is the perfect situation to get rid of the carpet and put in hardwood!” the latter joked, referring to the smoke damage.

Kuzik said she felt lucky that the fire was contained and thankful for the firefighters’ swift response.

Friday’s lightning strike happened about an hour after Environment Canada issued a severe thunderstorm watch for St. Albert.


About Author

Kevin Ma

Kevin Ma joined the St. Albert Gazette in 2006. He writes about Sturgeon County, education, the environment, agriculture, science and aboriginal affairs. He also contributes features, photographs and video.