Possible lightning strike destroys historic LR home

Local News

LITTLE ROCK, Ark. — A historic Little Rock home burned down in a fire investigators believe was sparked by lightning during storms Thursday morning. 

Surveillance video from a neighboring home shows a flash of light, then flames spreading through the nearly century old property off Louisiana Street. 

“It’s upsetting on so many levels,” said neighbor Trey Willis. “I don’t understand how his house got chosen.”

Willis says the 82-year-old owner of the home, died last year. He says the owner was a retired professor and put the home in a trust so it could be sold by his bank and turned into a scholarship.

“The bank was just in charge of carrying out his last will and testament and they didn’t ,” Willis said. “He wanted something good to come from his house and it’s not going to happen now. It’s unfair.”

Firefighters call lightning strikes like this one, unpredictable since even though the bolt will hit in one part it can travel through the wiring sparking multiple fires.

“That’s one thing the fire marshals look for is multiple hot spots, multiple points of origin,” explained Capt. Jason Weaver with the Little Rock Fire Dept. “We do see a lot of lightning strikes but there isn’t a whole lot you can do about it.”

For neighbors like Willis, the storms illuminated a harsh reality. 

“He had such expectations for what was going to happen to that house and it’s just an absolute let down,” he added. 

Willis hopes someone will want to rebuild the home, especially since the state offers tax incentives for historic restoration properties. 

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