When lightning hit Don and Ellen Noland's house Sunday morning and caused a fire, Don's quick use of water and then a fire extinguisher may have saved his house from going up in flames.

"The firemen told me that whole house would be gone if I hadn't done that," he said Sunday as he and his wife prepared to move temporarily to a hotel.

©Sam Yu
Don Noland of Monrovia surveys Sunday afternoon the aftermath of a lightning strike at his Rosewood Road home. Lightning struck the ground near a tree in his back yard and traveled to the house, setting his dining room wall on fire. Noland used a fire extinguisher to help contain the blaze until firefighters arrived. The lightning narrowly missed a propane tank next to the house.

Thanks to his quick actions, fire damage was contained to the Rosewood Road home's laundry and dining rooms. Firefighters, as a precaution, tore out part of the garage roof to make sure the fire hadn't spread.

At least two other lightning strikes were reported to emergency personnel Sunday. A home on Muirfield Drive was struck mid-morning, but the lightning did not cause a fire, according to emergency communications supervisor Micky Fyock.

About 3:30 p.m. lightning struck a chimney in the 5600 block of Farmbrook Drive in Frederick, said Lt. Tim Shelton of the Westview Fire Station. A plug cover to an outlet blew across the room and damage was contained to the area around the chimney.

No one was injured but the residents were a little shaken up, he said.

Don Noland, who retired just two weeks ago, said he isn't usually home on Sunday mornings because he golfs. He didn't go this week because of the rain, so he was home to witness the sound of what he thought was an explosion.

"I got up and went into the laundry room and saw the wall on fire," Don said. "I started pouring bottles of water on it, but quickly saw that wasn't going to do much."

Remembering that he had a fire extinguisher, he located and used it to battle the flames while waiting for firefighters to respond.

"And the fire company was very responsive, they were here very quickly," he said.

Nine pieces of equipment from the New Market, Green Valley, Urbana, Damascus and Hyattstown stations responded to the fire, which was brought under control in about five minutes, according to Brian Yankey, chief of the New Market/Green Valley department.

The homeowner's actions of fighting the fire "most probably" prevented more extensive damage, Yankey said.

"As it was, it wasn't much," he said.

Heavy rains

Bursts of heavy rain pelted the Frederick area several times throughout the day Sunday, and by 3 p.m. about an inch and a half had fallen.

"The total rainfall for the day could be about three inches," AccuWeather meteorologist Dave Samuhel said in a phone interview. "Rain will continue to be heavy through the evening hours and we'll have light, leftover rain (Monday) and cloudy, drizzly conditions will probably linger through Tuesday."

As dry as the region has been, Samuhel said flooding shouldn't be too much of a problem, but could occur in low flood-prone areas.

"And if a lot of rain falls quickly, small creeks could flood no matter how dry it's been," he said. "But everything should go back to normal within a couple of hours if that happens."

At least two personal injury auto crashes occurred during times of heavy rains, Fyock said.

Car occupants were taken to local hospitals from collisions on I-70 near the Frederick-Washington County line and U.S. 15 at Sundays Lane, he said.

Earlier Sunday, there were reports of water seeping up through manhole covers on Md. 28 in Point of Rocks, and Brethren Church Road in Myersville was closed at Catoctin Creek at 8:05 p.m., according to emergency communications supervisors.

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News-Post reporter Gina Gallucci contributed to this article.