Electrical Evaluation of Lightning Strike

Background

Lightning was reported to have caused damage to a metal roof, electrical components, and other items at a single-family, one-story residential home. 

Services Provided

Rimkus electrical and structural engineers were retained to determine the cause of the reported damage. 

Rimkus conducted an examination of the electrical systems and components found throughout the property, the metal roof system, as well as related evidence and legal documents. Upon discovering more than 200 individual points of isolated heat damage on the metal roof panels, Rimkus performed testing on exemplar roof panels using a hand torch and an electric welder and conducted a laboratory examination of the exemplar panels exposed to the simulated lightning exposure.

Based on the culmination of the evidence, Rimkus concluded the following:

  • A large number of isolated areas of heat damage were found on the roof of the home.  This heat damage was not caused by lightning, but could be consistent with the direct application of heat from a handheld torch. 
  • Isolated heat damage was also found throughout the property, including damage to a spa, a plastic chair, and a palm tree.  This heat damage was not caused by lightning, but could also be consistent with the direct application of heat from a handheld torch.
  • No physical damage was found at the home indicative of a direct lightning strike.

National Practice Leaders

Samuel L. Sharpless

P.E., C.F.E.I.

Vice President, Electrical Division