Lightning hits house, leaves hole in ceiling

Lois Barber was house-sitting at her son's Antelope Valley residence on Edelweiss Lane this week when a most unwelcome intruder barged in.

A bolt of lightning apparently traveled down the pipe of a wood-burning stove, startling the 75-year-old woman and the Topaz Lake Volunteer Fire Department crew outside on structure protection in the Jackass Flat fire.

"I just got done talking to my son," Barber said. "I hadn't even put the phone down when I heard a sound so loud, I thought the house had exploded.

"The first thing I saw was all this spackle stuff was everywhere. Then I noticed the hole in the ceiling. I didn't know exactly what was going on, but I was afraid maybe the house was going to catch fire."

Barber put on her hat and jacket and went outside to alert the firefighters even though an afternoon thunderstorm was pummeling the area.

"At first I thought they didn't believe me when they yelled, 'You're standing it water. Get back inside,'" Barber said. "I didn't know it, but I guess water is a conductor of electrify and I was standing right in a huge puddle."

When the crew came inside to inspect the home, Barber said, "They couldn't believe their eyes at the damage they saw."

The roof of the house was untouched, but there was a hole in the ceiling beside the stovepipe and pieces of molding scattered on the floor.

Barber's son Merle was working in Vacaville, Calif., when the incident occurred.

She said he received praise from the firefighters for clearing his property, keeping the swimming pool full of water and creating defensible space around his property.

"The Topaz Lake Volunteer Fire Department and the U.S. Forest Service could not have been any better," said Barber, a Livermore, Calif. resident.

"I'm not used to the fire trucks around here. At home when we call the fire department, they come in big red trucks, not something that looks like big dump trucks with an extended cab. I just can't say enough good about them."


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