Lightning strike sparks massive Smithfield house fire; firefighter treated for exhaustion

Posted at 11:19 PM, Jul 06, 2015
and last updated 2015-07-06 23:19:54-04

Smithfield, Va. - Two people are out of their home after a lightning strike burned much of their house on James Landing Circle in the Gatling Pointe neighborhood.

The fire started at about 10 p.m. on Sunday during a thunderstorm in the area, according to firefighters. A man and his wife were inside watching TV when the fire started, but were able to safely get out.

"There was just this massive thunder boomer that just rocked the houses," said Mark Brexler, who lives nearby. "We weren't sure exactly where it hit. We knew it hit close."

A firefighter was wearing a helmet camera when he went in to fight the flames. It took firefighters about four hours to get it under control. One had to be taken to the hospital for exhaustion, but has since been released.

Neighbors held out hope the fire wouldn't spread. "I was just laying in bed praying it wasn't going to hit our house, and I got up and I couldn't believe it," said Sandy Adcock, a neighbor.

The flames didn't spread, but caused significant damage to the roof of the home. The owner of the house says he and his wife are staying at a nearby hotel and getting help from the Red Cross. He's not sure if they'll ever be able to return to their home of about ten years.