Lightning splits tree, ignites house fire in Washington County

WASHINGTON COUNTY, Ore. - Lightning didn't have to strike twice - once was enough to do plenty of damage.

A bolt of lightning split a tree in front of a house, then sent a surge of electricity underground that sparked a fire inside that house in Washington County on Tuesday morning.

One neighbor was jolted awake by the bolt.

"My eyes were closed and we heard the loudest bang we've ever heard," said Kellie Kane. "It sounded like it was moving our house and I actually saw the lightning through my closed eyes and we both got startled out of bed."

The occupants of the house were OK, although a man who lives there was taken to the hospital as a precautionary measure because of a pre-existing medical condition.

The tree landed on the front corner of the house.

Neighbors helped put the fire out, and fire crews finished the job once they arrived.

"The tree exploded," Kane said. "There's bits of tree on the other neighbor's roof, and it actually detached their gutters. So it did make damage all around."