Recently, lightning struck near the garage and house of good friends of mine, a Vermont couple named Susan and Stan. Lightning destroyed a tree, fried all of the electronics and some of the electrical wiring in both of their cars (parked outdoors), and damaged electrical wiring and equipment in their house.
Fortunately, their home didn’t catch fire, but their cars were apparently totaled, and the house was rendered temporarily unusable. As they await electrical repairs, they have taken shelter in a friend’s house, and are now driving rental cars.
I asked Susan what happened. “In the early morning, we could hear thunder from our bedroom. At 5 a.m. I heard an explosion — a boom — so I got up, looked outside, and noticed that a tree had been severed. The top of the tree was stuck in the ground three feet from its trunk. I saw all this debris in the driveway and dirt all over the cars. I thought that lightning had hit the tree, but I was really tired, so I went back to sleep.
“An hour later, at 6, Stan got up and looked outside. He noticed that the rear-view mirror of his car was blown apart. One of his tires had exploded, and there was a rut that had been excavated into the ground. There there was debris and dirt all over. We knew it was lightning.
“Then Stan noticed that there was a hole in the garage. There had been a metal ladder leaning on the garage — we had been staining the siding — and the lightning must have hit the metal ladder. It blew a hole through the clapboards. The clapboards were destroyed. All the lightbulbs in the garage were exploded. The garage door openers had exploded. There were electrical wires that were severed.