Home Insurance

Lightning strike sets off fire and guts home in Windsor suburb

By: Jessica Mach on September 4, 2018

A family’s house was destroyed in LaSalle, Ont. on Saturday when a bolt of lighting hit a vent on the roof — just as the family was wrapping up renovations.

Domenic Prestia had been at work at Chrysler's Windsor Assembly Plant when he received a call from a neighbour who said that his house was on fire. Prestia’s wife, Angela, and their daughter, Diva, were out doing back-to-school shopping.

“I didn't really believe him,” Prestia said of the call. The neighbour had to call a second time to assure him that he was not joking. Prestia left work early to go home.

What he saw was “a big mess.”

“Tons of water was dumped in. The roof was opened to get the fire out. Drywall is down all the way to the basement floor.”

Home insurance policies usually cover damage from lightning strikes — meaning it’s likely that the family will receive compensation.

Unfortunately, the Prestias had been on the cusp of wrapping up renovations on their basement — a project for which they had saved for “seven or eight years.”

“Our last step was putting the carpet in. Ceramic was done, drywall, everything was done down there except for the carpet,” Prestia said.

The neighbour who’d called Prestia, Paul Bresolin, had been barbecuing next door “about 40 feet away” when he saw lightning strike and “sparks flying.” After the first fire on Saturday, the house went up in flames again on Sunday. LaSalle Fire and Rescue believed something in the house had still been smouldering.

It is  unclear whether the house can be repaired, or whether it will have to be gutted.

The Prestia family is currently staying at Angela’s mother’s house while they figure out their next steps. Their insurance company is trying to arrange temporary housing for the family. Temporary housing is covered in standard home insurance policies.

“It's sad,” said Bresolin. “I feel bad for everybody involved ... You don't like to see this.”