Lightning strike travels long, unusual path to set Gaston home ablaze

Lightning strike travels long, unusual path to set Gaston home ablaze

GASTON, SC (WIS) - Mark Hundley was home alone Monday afternoon when he saw a lightning strike.

"I just heard a loud boom and saw a flash outside. I jumped up to look and see if I could see what happened," said Mark Hundley.

Hundley says he didn't see any smoke, so he turned back to his house. That's when he saw the roof smoldering. He grabbed his poodle and motorcycle and called 911. Then all he could do was watch fire crews work to extinguish the flames ripping a hole through
his roof.

"It looks like a nightmare. All of the insulation in the attic got wet where the fire department was spraying in the attic to put it out, because it was fully engulfed," said Hundley.

The family returned Tuesday morning to look at the damage. That's when Hundley noticed chipped bricks on the corner of his house.

"I figured maybe lightning came through the fence, and sure enough I saw another tree that was struck by lightning and it stops at the top of the fence. I've seen burn marks where it went through the latch in the gate, and I saw burn marks where it went through the side of the house," said Hundley.

The chain link fence has several posts to the ground between the pine tree that was struck by lightning and the house. Hundley was shocked the lightning didn't escape through one of those into the ground.

"Lightning is simply looking for the quickest way to get into the ground," said WIS Chief Meteorologist John Farley.

But every now and then, tragedies and just plain crazy scenarios can happen. A lightning expert told Farley that years ago.

"Despite everything we just said, he said, 'You know, sometimes lightning just does crazy things.' And that was his point, and he's got a Ph.D and has been studying this for 25 years," said Farley.

The Hundleys are keeping their chins up as they look ahead to rebuilding.

"I've had worse tragedies in my life, so nothing in there is not replaceable," said Hundley.

Hundley says he expects the repairs to last about 6 months. He's grateful to be insured.

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