Multiple lightning strikes reported around Southeast Wisconsin
WAUKESHA - Tuesday's weather and homeowners kept fire departments from hales corner to Washington County busy investigating reports of possible lightning strikes. And it was a close call for a couple of those home owners.
Fire trucks from eight departments lined Highway O in the Town of Erin after a lightning show in the sky got out of hand.
“Thundering and lightning and then we heard the loud boom and I knew it was close,” Mark Passig said.
Passig thought his home had been hit. He soon realized the bolt of lightning actually struck across the road, igniting his neighbor’s pole barn housing collectible cars. It turned out to be one of several lightning-related fires.
“A number of the departments that have come from Waukesha County said there were other reports of lightning strikes and storm related issues in other counties,” said Hartford Fire Chief Paul Stephans.
In Hales Corners, lightning struck a tree, traveled through it and underground to a nearby garden shed, sparking a small fire.
And in the Town of Barton, just outside of West Bend, Kevin Murray feels lucky damage to his house wasn't worse.
“Some of the ceiling tiles are off their runners," he said. "It shook the house that much.”
A bolt connected with a rain gutter on the corner of the home. His wife was inside at the time.
The bolt burned a small area on the outside wall, but it was enough to give Murray a real scare speaking with his wife on the phone.
“She couldn’t breathe and was taking in a lot of smoke and I was yelling on the phone for her and eventually she came back and I just said call 911 and get out of there,” he said.
Murray's wife was not hurt in the incident, nor was anyone else in the other two. The pole barn was a loss of about $125,000.
Amy Jahns and Mary Franzen contributed to this report.