On Saturday a prominent Westchester Rabbi and his wife lost their lives after lightning hit their home in Scarsdale. I asked the Building Inspector about our the building code. I was under the impression that homes are protected from lightning. This is Building Inspector John Lucido's response:
The State Building Code, Chapter 35, requires grounding rods on all buildings. Grounding rods are connected to the earth and has a ground wire connected from the outside electric service panel to the grounding rod. This protects the electric service from a fire during a lightning strike. It won’t, however, protect if lightning strikes the wood roof rafters then extends fire to the shingles and interior of a house or building. These types of strikes are infrequent but do rarely happen, as was the case for the poor Rabbi and his wife.