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HOUSTON -- After Monday night's storm some folks in the Houston area called lightning rod installers.

In the Jagged Ridge Subdivision in Spring, one homeowner was ahead of the crowds. He had a system installed a week ago after seeing lightning strike his neighbor's home across the street. The resulting fire gutted the home.

Homeowner Pat Patterson knows that lightning hitting a house is an extremely rare occurrence, but it is a chance he is not willing to take.

Hamilton Lightning Rods installed his system by placing a series of small metal rods onto his roof. Each rod is slightly thicker than a pencil and about 12 inches in length. The rods are connected to cables that run into the ground. If you did not know the system was in place, you would hardly be able to tell by looking at the home.

Patterson said the cables are attached to a pole that is buried in the ground. The pole is about 10-feet tall.

"We get a lot of phone calls," said Mike Weir of Taylor Lightning Protection, commenting on the upswing in business following violent storms.

Getting lightning rod systems installed costs anywhere from $2,500 to $4,500, experts said. The job can take a few hours or a few days.

Patterson said it is worth it to him, in order to have peace of mind when the skies over Houston are angry.

Weir said some homeowners feel they do not need lightning rods if their home is surrounded by tall trees. He said they feel the trees will act as lightning rods. That is true, Weir said, "but the lightning will seek both the tallest object and the best conductivity." The tree is tall, he said, but not very conducive so the chances are high that once the lightning strikes the tree it will jump to the much more conducive home next to it.

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