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Lightning suspected cause of 2 house fires

Firefighters respond Friday to fires in San Jose neighborhood, St. Johns County

Photo of house fire provided by St. Johns County Sheriff's Office
Photo of house fire provided by St. Johns County Sheriff's Office

Firefighters suspect two house fires in Northeast Florida Friday may have been caused by lightning. 

A home caught fire Friday afternoon on Darnall Place, off San Jose Boulevard in Jacksonville.

Jacksonville Fire Rescue responded and the first units asked for an extra engine and ladder truck for support before eventually getting the flames put out.

Firefighters believe the blaze may have been started by a lightning strike.

"When the heat gets up, you know, you'll have these thunderstorms rolling through. And you can just about set your watch for them every day. You know, firefighters are used to responding to them. It makes them more difficult, obviously, with the rain and it just creates a very busy time for firefighters when these storms roll through," said Randy Wyse, president of the Jacksonville Association of Firefighters.

Shortly after, crews were called to a house fire on Flores Way in a gated subdivision off County Road 201 in St. Johns County. 

Jeremy Robshaw, a spokesperson for St. Johns County Fire Rescue, said the call came in as a lightning strike.

No one was at the homes when the fires started, and no injuries were reported.

Meteorologist John Gaughan said a severe thunderstorm warning was in effect at the time the fires broke out. There were about 100,000 lightning strikes across Northeast Florida Friday afternoon, Gaughn said.