OLDSMAR, Fla. (WFLA) – It was not the afternoon Marcie Quian and her children were prepared for when the rain began Tuesday afternoon.
What they thought was going to be just another summer storm found out quickly that Mother Nature had other plans.
“We heard very loud pop, and drywall flew off the wall in our house and we smelled an odor,” said Marcie Quian.
What they smelled was smoke from a lightning strike.
In fact, according to Max Defender 8 meteorologists, at one point there were 200 strikes in a 15-minute period.
Marcie and her family live on Ventura Driver in Oldsmar which was filled Tuesday afternoon with fire trucks and first responders from Oldsmar, Dunedin, Palm Harbor, and the Pinellas County Sheriff’s Office.
She described how her daughter reacted when the lightning struck their home just before 5:00 p.m. Tuesday.
“She hit the ground. The pop happened, it was so loud, she jumped down on the ground as just a natural reaction,” Quian explained.
Moments after the lightning struck their home, the family ran outside to check their roof, and saw one house down from theirs was on fire with children inside.
“That’s when we noticed smoke coming out from their roof, you went and knocked on their door and a five-year-old girl was inside with her teenage brother,” Quian said.
“They’re very lucky,” said Oldsmar Assistant Fire Chief Renee Neiman. “The kids are okay, they were able to get out, the neighbors were able to help them get a hold of their parents, and everybody’s fine.”
Firefighters believe that lightning struck the first house, then arced over the home in between, and caused the next house to ignite with the kids inside.
Marcie says if lightning had not struck her home first, she wouldn’t have called 911 – a call that ultimately saved the lives of two children.
“You just have to pay attention. We’re very thankful we were outside, it’s not about us compared to what happened to them, they’re ten times worse,” Quian said.