Seventeen fire companies from three counties -- Genesee, Orleans, and Monroe -- battled a house fire at 7735 Creamery Road, Bergen, that may have been sparked by a lightning strike.
Neighbors described one and possibly two wall-rattling lightning strikes and thunder claps in the neighborhood this morning followed by a brief power outage.
The call for smoke in the residence came in at 7:58 a.m. and the next call from a neighbor who reported flames.
Bergen Fire Chief Garrett Dean said the fact that flames were reported and that on a weekday morning, fewer volunteer firefighters are available, he immediately called for a second alarm.
The Bergen ladder truck was on scene first and quickly knocked down the blaze inside the rooms on the south side of the house, though the rooms appeared to be largely destroyed and Dean said the stairwell was heavily burned and firefighters couldn't use it to access the second floor.
The difficulty firefighters faced was in the roof. The original house was built in 1850 (it looks like there were one, and possibly two additions), and the older portion is constructed in a way that makes it easier for smoke, heat, and fire to pass to different sections. The roof has been reroofed a couple of times, leading to an extra layer of plywood. Firefighters had a hard time getting to the fire in the roof and ventilating the roof.
The residents were not home when the fire was reported. Dean said there was no indication of pets in the house. No firefighters were injured during the fighting of the fire.
The cause has not been confirmed and we don't have an estimate of damage at this time.
Firefighters were able to keep the fire contained to the south end of the house, with the other two-thirds suffering only smoke and heat damage.