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Family Displaced After Lightning Strike Sparks Fire

WHITE DEER TOWNSHIP — A couple from Union County say they heard a big boom and then saw flames. It turns out their house was hit by lighting and that sparked a fire.

Charred clothes have melted together. They sit on the side of Jerry Sills’ house on New Columbia road in the village of New Columbia.

His home and most things inside were destroyed by fire after officials say lightning struck the home during a storm Tuesday.

“Oh, it was raining hard.”

In the morning, Sills came back to his home to salvage anything he could. He says he and his wife were inside when they heard a crash.

“I seen a flash. I heard the boom and probably 30 seconds later I stood up and I could feel the heat on top of my head,” Sills recalled.

When they got out of the house, Sills noticed an air conditioner in a window was on fire. He grabbed a garden hose to try to put it out, but flames were so intense, he was unable.

“It’s bad. I hit just about every doggone room. There is stuff if it wasn’t water damaged, it’s melted.”

“Devastation, it’s devastated. It’s gutted,” said neighbor Chris Walker.

Walker lives down the road and is friends with the Sills. He says he’s surprised a lighting strike could cause so much damage

“I’m just glad they got out and their cat got out safely.”

“It’s a total surprise,” added Sills. “I never thought I would get hit by lightning where I am here with all these trees around me.”

The Red Cross has offered to help the Sills find a place to stay for a few days.  The couple has insurance.


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