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Lightning starts Frankfort house fire

A Southwest suburban Frankfort home Home Court is boarded up Wednesday August 3 2011 after lightning struck it splitting its

A Southwest suburban Frankfort home on Home Court, is boarded up Wednesday, August 3, 2011 after lightning struck it, splitting its chimney in two and setting it on fire Tuesday night. | Jean Lachat~Sun-Times

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Updated: August 3, 2011 9:19AM

Firefighters received a round of applause early Wednesday when they rescued a cat from a home that started burning when lighting struck it – splitting its chimney in two in southwest suburban Frankfort. No one was hurt.

At 11:43 p.m. an off-duty firefighter saw the fire on the roof of a large house on the 22500 block of Home Court and called 911, said Frankfort Fire Protection District Battalion Chief Todd Hamm.

Crews soon found that lighting struck the highest point on the house, the chimney.

“It was a pretty good hit,’’ Hamm said. “The chimney was split in half and chunks of brick were lying on the ground.’’

Crews entered the home with fire hoses and made their way to the second-floor where the fire was burning in the attic area.

It was elevated to a second-alarm about 1 a.m., because they needed more manpower due to the extremely warm temperatures and humidity.

Residents were out of town and no one was inside at the time of the blaze, except their pet.

“We did find their kitty cat -- one fluffy, pretty big cat,” Hamm said.

A member of the board-up crew found the cat behind the curtains in the lower level family room,

“We brought it out and everyone out in front clapped,’’ Hamm said.

The fire was brought under control by about 1:30 a.m. but the home’s roof was burned off and the fire caused at least $400,000 in damage.

“There was pretty significant damage,’’ Hamm said. “The residents will be displaced for a while.’’

The blaze occurred during a storm, he said.

“At that time we had terrific lighting storm that went through out area,’’ said Hamm. “We had a lot of lightning’’

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