The house of the former mayor of Angier was damaged by fire caused by a lightning strike Sunday forcing the former town leader out of his home for several months.
Former Mayor R.H. Ellington, who lost his seat in a tight race last year, said the air conditioning unit at his home on McIver Street was struck by lightning at approximately 3 p.m. Sunday. The blaze ignited an electrical fire under a bedroom in the house.
Mr. Ellington said he and his wife were at home but did not notice the fire for approximately four hours — just after 7 p.m.
“We started smelling smoke and realized what had happened,” Mr. Ellington said. “If we were in the bed the smoke would have probably killed us. We are very blessed.” The former mayor said smoke damage went throughout the home. Crews will have to clean the house and most items in it before the family can move back into it.
“Right now, because of smoke damage, some parts of the house aren’t even fit for human habitation,” Mr. Ellington said. “They are telling us it will take three to six months to clean it all up so we can move back in.”
Water damage was restricted to one bedroom of the house.
“We were lucky that more damage wasn’t done by the water,” Mr. Ellilngton said. Crews from the Angier and Coats-Grove Fire Departments responded to the blaze.
Mr. Ellington served the town for 10 years as mayor – from 2005 to 2015 – before losing his seat by less than 10 votes last year to current Mayor Lew Weatherspoon.