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Cops: Fire reignites at home hit by lightning

Firefighters were back Saturday morning at a Mount Sinai house that caught fire after a lightning strike set it ablaze the day before, police and fire officials said.

The initial fire occurred on Crabapple Court before 1:30 p.m. Friday, then firefighters returned to the home on reports of smoke at 7:45 a.m. Saturday, Suffolk County police said.

The Saturday fire appeared to have restarted in the attic, according to Mount Sinai 1st Assistant Fire Chief David Taylor. A worker going to assess the house Saturday morning discovered the fire, he said.

Mount Sinai firefighters, who responded Saturday, remained at the scene through the early afternoon.

"The situation is under control," he said. "We just want to be able to get into that back room, pull out any debris that might still be smoldering underneath the collapse."

Arson squad detectives determined the Friday fire was caused by a lightning strike, but it's still being investigated, Taylor said.

When firefighters arrived Friday the roof had collapsed and firefighters had trouble getting inside because of the amount of debris that had fallen inside the home, Taylor said.

Crews from at least eight different departments were needed to help contain the blaze on Friday, working for more than six hours in 90-degree temperatures, he said.

The two-story, wood-frame home had a lot of combustible material to fuel the fire, Taylor said.

Larry Stenson, 65, who was inside the house next door, visiting his brother, said the lightning bolt on Friday startled everyone gathered for their family reunion.

"We were sitting at the kitchen table and when the lightning hit, everyone jumped," Stenson, of Dallas, said Saturday morning.

"We went around the house . . . the homeowners didn't know the fire had even happened," he said, because they were in back yard. He said his nephew called 911 to report the fire.

No injuries were reported, police said.

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