Collier County community glad neighbors OK after lightning struck their home

Reporter: Gina Tomlinson
Published: Updated:

A family’s house is a total loss after a lightning strike hit a home and started a fire while children were inside.

“We were standing on the corner here and watching it in horror and we just couldn’t believe it,” said neighbor Lorenzo Klein.

Panic hit the rural Collier neighborhood after lightning hit the home in the middle of a storm.

“The next thing you know, ‘crack!’ And I was like, oh my God,” Klein said.

The roof of the home was badly singed and caved in. The house — a total loss.

Klein and Tina Lehmler said they’re just thankful their neighbors got out safely.

“The fire was just shooting right out of the roof,” Klein said. “Within minutes there were 50 vehicles here.”

”That area does not have a lot of hydrants,” said Deputy Chief Jorge Aguilera. “Getting water there is sometimes a challenge. We had to go a little further down the road there to find a hydrant.”

Aguilera said with rainy season and stormy weather ahead, there’s more of a chance lightning will spark fires.

To do your best to keep safe, unplug electrical items, especially computers and TVs, use surge protectors and consider having a lightning rod installed.

”It’s just Mother Nature. You can’t really prepare for this situation,” Aguilera said.

Neighbors just hope lightning doesn’t strike the same area twice.

“On top of everything that is going on, these people are just sitting home, they have their kids back from college, sitting home safe, next thing you know, poof, they lost everything they had: pictures, her whole childhood photos, everything just burned down,” Klein said.

Limited resources also proved challenging for firefighters.

Not only did North Collier Fire have crews mopping up the 36th Avenue SE fire, but they also had an elevator rescue and two other fires when they got called to this one.

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