RICE - A lightning strike is believed to have caused a house fire in Rice on Wednesday afternoon.

Firefighters responded just before 2:00 p.m. at 150 1st Street Southwest.

A lightning strike likely caused the blaze. Rice Fire Chief Scott Janski says several witnesses reported hearing a loud boom before the fire started.

Nobody was home at the time of the incident. The damage was limited to the exterior siding of the home.

A few pets inside were able to escape safely.

The Benton County Sheriff's Office, Xcel Energy, Minnesota Power and the Rice Police Department all assisted the fire department during the incident.