Lightning strike causes fire at Chesterfield home

Lightning strikes Chesterfield home

CHESTERFIELD, Va. (WWBT) - A Chesterfield family is out of a home after lightning struck it as storms rolled through the region.

It happened along Shoremeade Court near Iron Bridge Road on Wednesday afternoon, when lightning hit a tree and then struck the roof of the home, leading to an explosion.

A young couple was inside of their home, not knowing their roof was on fire, and good neighbor was in the right place at the right time to step into action.

Fire crews were on scene for hours, arriving around 3:30 p.m. and staying into the evening following a bizarre force of nature.

“It was an explosion. It’s like it lasted for 2-3 seconds,” Todd Gillispie said. He was at his family’s home across the street. “There were lightning bolts everywhere. It was insane. It was crazy…There was steam coming off the roof like it comes off the road when it rains when it’s really hot.”

When he saw smoke, he knew he had to do more than watch. He ran to his neighbors’ home because he knew the couple was inside.

“That’s when I ran over there and told them to get out of the house…It was burning in the roof, they didn’t know,” he said.

Once they made it out, his neighbors told him their two cats were still inside. Gillispie ran into the smoldering home to try to get them.

“My mind was telling me ‘you’ve got about 10 seconds, 10 to 15 and if you can’t get the cats, then get out because it was full at that point…It was full of smoke. I knew enough from experience. So I got low and stayed low, and put my shirt over my nose so I didn’t inhale all the smoke and I called for the cats,” he said.

It took fire crews to get them out. One was fine but the other was hurt and had to go to the vet.

“It was the loudest lightning strike I’ve ever heard,” the neighbor added.

The Red Cross offered to assist the family but they’re staying with relatives.

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