BRANDON, Fla. (WFLA) — A Brandon family lost their home after Sunday evening after it was hit by lighting.
The lightning strike happened at 7:30 p.m. Sunday on Van Reed Manor Drive, starting a small attic at a house that appeared to have taken a direct hit.
Neighbors lost power, and one homeowner had their air conditioning unit go out.
Hillsborough County Fire Rescue sent out first responders who were able to locate the fire..
“Attic fires present a challenge, to the fire service with blown in insulation and the configuration of the structural members,” said David Tucker, the lead fire investigator for Hillsborough Fire Rescue. “They went to great extent, even using a class A foam which helps do a better job of penetrating materials and further extinguishing fires.”
Chris Koudela has lived across the street from the home that was hit by lightning for most of his life.
He said he came outside and saw a wall of smoke.
“They didn’t even know what was happening, banging on the door for them to come out, got the car out and got them out safely, thank God,” Koudela said.
Firefighters stayed on the scene for four hours and thought the situation was safe, but sometime later, the fire reignited, and this time the consequences were more severe.
Flames shot out of the roof of the home, and by the time firefighters returned, it was impossible to save the structure.
“We thought it was completely out,” Koudela said. “I woke up to this. This is crazy.”
Monday evening, he helped the family sift through ashes inside the home to try and salvage memories.
They pulled out an American flag in a triangle glass frame. The frame was singed, but the flag appeared to be in good shape.
Koudela said he is just thankful his neighbors are not injured.