Lightning strikes car in Golden Gate Estates; no injuries reported

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Photo via Community Service Deputy Brandi Rusk/CCSO

A Chrysler Pacifica was struck by lightning Monday afternoon in the Orangetree community of Golden Gate Estates, the Collier County Sheriff’s Office said.

Deputies responded after the lightning strike happened around 4 p.m. to the parked Chrysler in a residential driveway.

Ken Aller parked his van Monday in his neighbor’s driveway while his own driveway was repaved.

“We all heard this horrific boom, and when it struck, it lit the neighborhood up like white ice,” Aller said.

A typical summer thunderstorm then put a bolt of lightning right through his windshield.

“And all the sudden there was black smoke everywhere, then it blew the windows, and then the flames were 20 feet in the air, and then it was blowing glass everywhere,” Aller said.

Aller said he’s grateful he wasn’t sitting in the driver’s seat.

“Once or twice we’ve gotten calls about cars getting struck by lightning, but nothing like this,” said Tim Baker, of Baker’s Towing.

Baker had the task of cleaning up the mess as he added parts were melted into the driveway.

“This is definitely one of the stranger things I’ve towed,” Baker said.

There were approximately 200 flashes of lightning per square mile each year in 2016 in Orangetree, a community located between Naples and Immokalee, according to the Bulletin of the American Meteorological Society. The area experiences more lightning than any other location in the United States.

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