A blazing house fire broke out at the Larry Kahmeyer family home at 602 Meadowlark Lane around 12:30 a.m. on Wednesday, April 22 and blazed into the early hours of the morning before being contained around 2 a.m.


The family was not at home when the fire started because they were at the Evergreen Inn Motel and RV Park, which they own and manage.


Officer Ken Wright with the Pratt Police Department said lightning is believed to be the cause of the fire, and since none of the trees around the house are damaged, it seems the lightning struck the house.


"Actually, one of the neighbors heard the bang, I think from the lightning, and he started smelling smoke, and he came out, and saw it, and called it in," Wright said.


Wright said the damage to the house is extensive as the roof pretty much completely caved in.


"It [the fire] went up fast," Wright said.


David Kramer, Pratt City Fire Chief, said the reports from neighbors point to the likelihood of lightning being the cause, however, the State Fire Marshall will do an investigation to determine the exact cause.


"We’ve had a number of neighbors tell us that there was a very near lightning strike," Kramer said.


The fire was controlled within about an hour and a half from the time the fire department arrived and did not spread to neighboring houses. Once the fire was contained, firefighters continued to work on the remaining hot spots.


"We had a couple of them [firefighters] get heated right at the very beginning--probably 15 minutes in--but they did an assessment with EMS [Emergency Medical Services] and they’re fine," Kramer said.


There were no injuries associated with the blaze. Kramer said that in addition to the family not being home, he was also not aware of any animals in the house. As for structural damage, Kramer said the burn mainly affected the attic space, which then dropped down to the main floor.


"I would say it’s about a 90 percent loss because it’s burned clear through the roof--almost the entire structure--so yeah, it’s a bad situation," Kramer said.


In the meantime, the Kahmeyer family said they are doing alright and have an alternate place to live while they decide their next steps.


"We are grateful for the outpouring of prayers and support from the community," Larry Kahmeyer said.