WDAZ: Your Home Team

Published July 04, 2012, 01:11 PM

Lightning Strike Starts Blaze, Totaling Rural Manvel, ND, Home

RURAL MANVEL, ND (WDAZ-TV) - As many celebrate the 4th of July holiday, one rural Manvel family is dealing with devastation.

RURAL MANVEL, ND (WDAZ-TV) - As many celebrate the 4th of July holiday, one rural Manvel family is dealing with devastation.

Lightning struck the Champagne home Wednesday morning, lighting it up in flames while the homeowner was still inside.

The fire broke out at 1946 23rd Avenue Northeast shortly before 10 a.m.

It didn't take long before the house was fully engulfed in flames and firefighters say the home is a total loss.

25-year-old Ashley Champagne watched as items in her home burned in the blaze. It was her and her husband Jon's first home.

"The dog and I were in bed and the thunderstorm started. It was pretty bad thunder too and then I'm assuming lightning struck this end of the house and it was a loud crack, bright lights. I got up and checked, saw flames and got out as soon as I could," Champagne said.

The couple have only lived in their single-story home, northwest of Grand Forks, since the end of March.

One of the first people Champagne called was her grandmother.

"She called about 9:30 or quarter to ten and she was very calm and said their house was on fire," Ashley's grandmother Nancy Bitz said.

"The smoke was so bad I could hardly see out there but I wanted to get out in case because the lightning struck right by where our propane goes into the house," Champagne said.

More than 20 firefighters fought the blaze but it took them a little more time getting here because of the weather.

Sheets of rain made travel difficult for fire departments to make it to the rural home.

"The visibility was tough seeing getting here because the way it was coming down. I live approximately three miles away and had a tough time getting here," Emerado Fire Chief Marvin Jensen said.

Firefighters from Manvel, Gilby and Emerado fought the blaze for nearly 20 minutes to put out the major flames. They stayed on scene for several hours after to put up hot spots.

"We rolled up with just sheets of rain coming down so once we got here we just set up and started attacking it the best way we could," Jensen said.

As for the family, Champagne is not sure what the future holds, but she says they may end up living in the same area.

"I was shocked, as everybody always says. You don't think it's going to happen to you kind of thing until it actually does," Champagne said.

"I think they would rebuild out here in this spot. I know they like it here in the country and they have a dog," Bitz said.

Firefighters say at this point they think the house is a total loss.

No one was injured.