Firefighter’s home hit by lightning |

Firefighter’s home hit by lightning

Kurt Hildebrand

GARDNERVILLE – For the second time in less than a week, an East Fork Fire captain’s home was damaged by fire.

The 1580 Toler Lane home of Capt. Jeffrey Costa appears to have been struck by lightning in Tuesday’s storm. The report came in at about 7:30 p.m.

According to Deputy Fire Chief Bobby Wartgow, family members heard a strike close to the home but didn’t realize how close.

“They went about running their errands and a short time later a passerby called the fire in,” Wartgow said. “We haven’t confirmed it is lightning, but there is a rather tell-tale hole in the roof.”

Wartgow said Costa was one of the first firefighters to respond to the fire.

“He got home and found the roof of his house was half involved,” Wartgow said.

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Engines from Gardnerville and East Fork Fire Station 14 were first on-scene, according to East Fork Fire Capt. Scott Fraser.

“The attic and a portion of the roof were really burning,” Fraser said, estimating that between one third and one half of the home’s attic was ablaze.

“The crews on the initial attack did a great job knocking down the fire,” Fraser said.

Fraser said that the storm had moved south by the time they arrived, so firefighters didn’t have to contend with lightning, winds or rain. Crews were on scene until after midnight.

“Attic fires are a challenge to get to,” he said. “We go inside the home and pull portions of the ceiling down. There were some collapse issues, where the fire had burned through trusses making a fair portion of the roof unstable. We weren’t able to put anybody in the garage.”

Costa’s home was the only confirmed structure fire from the lightning storm, though there were other reports.

Costa’s home is the second belonging to an East Fork firefighter to burn in less than a week.

Nick Agorasto’s home in Dayton was destroyed by fire early Friday morning.