Lightning is believed to be the cause of two fire calls early this morning.

At 4:50 a.m., Columbus firefighters were called to 4236 Reese Lane for a gas main leak blamed on a lightning strike to a tree directly beside it, said Fire Investigator Matt Noblitt.

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Firefighters stayed at the location and did periodic checks for gas leaks in nearby houses, and found that in one, a water heater had a flash fire from a small pin hole in the gas supply line. It was extinguished when the gas what shut off to the water heater, Noblitt said.

In the second incident, firefighters were sent to 3447 Rost St. for a fire in a large storage shed at the back of a home, Noblitt said. Investigators determined lightning caused this fire as well, he said.

For more on the fires, see Wednesday’s Republic.

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Julie McClure is assistant managing editor of The Republic. She can be reached at or (812) 379-5631.