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House Fire Risks Can Be Reduced Without Spending A Lot Of Money

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NORTH TEXAS (CBSDFW.COM) – This week we’ve heard about flood damage across North Texas. But there’s another element to severe weather that’s proving to be costly — lightning.

In Frisco, a lightning strike is being blamed for sparking a blaze that required four fire engines and a ladder truck to extinguish. The fire caused between $400,000 and $500,000 in damage.

While nothing can prevent lightning strikes, experts say the risk of fire can be reduced without spending a lot of money.

There was a flash of light and then a fire. To keep the same thing that happened in Frisco from occurring at her McKinney home, Christy McWilliams is relying on a small keypad in the garage.

When it comes to the possibility of a hose fire McWilliams said, “I don’t even worry about it. I don’t even think about it.”

McWilliams invested $500 in a home surge protector, which electricians say can reduce the risk of fire when lightning hits a house.

Plano electrician Nick Nisat explained that, “electricity usually seeks the lowest point of lowest resistance, so in your electrical system that’s copper wire.”

Nisat, of Nisat Electric, explained that lightning protection systems no longer just involve expensive rods on rooftops. “For less than $500 you can keep your home and family safe. Most of the consumers don’t know about it.”

In the city of McKinney there have been five homes hit by lightning in four years, causing more than $130,000 in damage.

McKinney Fire Department personnel are now encouraging homeowners to invest in prevention.

McKinney Fire Department spokeswoman Stacie Durham said, “They help. It’s no absolute that it’s [lightning] not going to strike your house and not going to cause a fire, but they [surge protectors] certainly will help prevent it.”

Some houses are more at risk to lightning strikes than others, especially those higher in elevation.

But when you compare the cost of the investment in a protection system versus the cost of repairing damage, it’s easy to see why more people are turning to them.

(©2014 CBS Local Media, a division of CBS Radio Inc. All Rights Reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.)

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