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LAKEVILLE, Minn. - Fire officials say a lightning strike is the likely culprit for an incident that set three homes on fire in Lakeville Thursday morning.

Lakeville's Fire Chief tells KARE 11 that his investigators believe a lightning strike hit a tree in a neighborhood on the 17000 block of Foliage Avenue around 5 a.m. and jumped to a nearby gas main, then traveled to three separate homes, starting them on fire.

A Lakeville firefighter happens to live on that block and awoke to a tremendous thunder clap. He ran outside to investigate and saw two of the homes on fire, then immediately radioed his colleagues for help.

All occupants were able to get out safely, and while damage is described as significant, none of the houses is thought to be a total loss.

Fire crews from Lakeville, Farmington and Apple Valley responded to put out the fire.Lakeviile Fire Chief Mike Meyer says it was a busy morning for his crews. They were responding to two reports of lightning strikes when they were diverted to the three homes on fire. An engine from Apple Valley was dispatched on a fourth lightning-related fire. Meyer says the strike apparently traveled the roof line of an industrial building and set fire to a boat that was parked inside.

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