May Thunderstorm Wreaks Havoc in Woodland

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WOODLAND -- The Woodland Fire Department responded to at least three lightning strikes within city limits Sunday afternoon.

Reimann Rouse told FOX40 he was outside around 2:30 p.m. when he saw a bright flash and heard the familiar sound of thunder.

"It sounded like a bomb going off, honestly, like a really loud gunshot or a bomb," he explained. "It actually scared the crap out of me. I fell up against the wall and I just saw a little spark."

Soon after Rouse saw bricks all over his backyard. He quickly realized the lightning hit and exploded his chimney.

"It seems like these lightning strikes hit one right after the other in our area," said Woodland Fire Marshal Emily Richter.

Not far from Rouse’s home, a pump house was struck by lightning and on Muir Circle, a redwood tree exploded.

"Loud bang and just a bright light," said Cristian Vargas.

The explosion on Muir Circle happened within feet of Liseth Garcia’s sister and brother-in-law, who were leaving their cars to get inside at the time.

"They realized the lightning had just struck our tree," Garcia told FOX40.

Both were OK.

Vargas said the crack of thunder was so loud he thought it hit his property. His daughter, Melony, was terrified.

"She ran inside the house because she was with me in the garage. It was pretty loud," he said.

With more storms in the forecast, the fire department says outside and near trees are the worst places you can be during a lightning storm. Staying inside is the safest spot -- but even there, you have to be careful.

"You want to be careful of being too close to electronics because that’s how electricity is conducted in a home," Richter said.

Fire officials say if you can’t be inside during a lightning storm, a car is the next safest place as the tires keep the vehicle insulated.

Rouse said half the circuits in his home were out, as was the cable TV and internet.

"Turn off everything electrical that you can because even with surge protectors, it’s not going to protect against a lightning strike. It’s just too much energy," he said.

He was still counting his blessings no one was hurt.

"My family being safe is the most important thing," Rouse said.

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