$4 million Naples home struck by lightning, catches fire

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NAPLES, Fla.- A lightning bolt ripped through a multimillion-dollar home near Gordon Drive after a powerful storm passed through Naples.

Firefighters poured down 18th Avenue South, five units on scene battling a fire that wouldn’t quit.

“The chief told me someone else definitely saw the lightning strike,” said Pam Hilt who watched over the home.

Carl Fernstrom says he saw the strike. He lives across the street.

“The lightning bolt came down and it was gigantic. It must of been 6 feet wide and lasted four seconds. It shook everything. The heat and smell was intense.”

The lightning bolt set off the house alarm and the fire alarm. Neighbors watched as crews battled the fire at the more than $4 million mansion.

Hilt and her mother, Sue Schetz, watch the home from time to time for their friends. The owner was out of town in Saint Louis.

“He is calm. He is taking it well, I’m proud of him,” said Schetz. “I don’t think I’d be that calm.”

The fire burned through the home’s attic causing a partial roof collapse. It burned for 30 minutes as crews flew from other storm damage calls to help fight the fire.

“There is going to be a lot of damage,” sighed Hilt.

Inside the home, pieces of the roof fell to the ground. The fire chief says there is around $2 million in damage to the home.

Hilt and Schetz say they’re happy their friends weren’t inside.

“Everyone is safe, that’s what matters,” said Schetz.

The fire chief says one firefighter went to the hospital after part of the roof fell on top of his shoulder.

The State Fire Marshal is investigating the cause of the fire.

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