Cars in exchange for rainbows

My Mom’s destroyed van in the background, saved American Flag that the neighbors had used to decorate our front lawn after I won Trials

Wednesday July 18th around 5:30pm lightening struck the electrical wires in front of my families house. When this occurred I was at Sachem East High School at the SYAG camp, training in the weight room with recent East Grad Rachel Paul. My sisters and Mom were home when the lightening struck. Below is a quick recap of what they witnessed, written by Kristie:

“Kristie and Katie were in the living room watching tv when they heard a large clap of thunder and another explosion-like sound they looked outside to see if anything had been hit or not. Upon looking out the window they saw the first wire fall down onto the middle of our lawn where it immediately began smoking. As they watched the smoke thicken and grow stronger the second wire fell down onto the street beneath my mom’s van back tire. After getting my mom’s attention because she was down stairs closing doors from the rain, they tried to call 911 but the line was dead. They then went over to our Nana’s house next door as first the tire began to set on fire followed quickly by the front lawn. My mom was able to go over to another neighbor’s house and get into contact with 911 as everyone watched the whole back of the van go up in flames. Twenty mins later the fire department and police arrive but could do nothing but stand by and watch helplessly as they waited for LIPA to turn off the power so they could put the flames that were now engulfing my mom’s entire van and the front of my brother’s Honda. About half an hour later LIPA finally arrived and cut the power. The fire fighters quickly extinguished what was left of the two cars and the lawn. The whole experience was frightening but probably the scariest thing was the sound of the electricity buzzing through our Nana’s house next door and not being able to do anything. Luckily no one got hurt and the house was unharmed.”

Nature is both powerful and beautiful

While all of this was occurring, I was completely unaware and was just in awe of the magnificent double rainbows that the storm had left behind when my cell phone rang. It was Joey’s Mom calling to give me a heads up about what had occurred. From the moment I answered the call I got this horrible feeling in my stomach. All she was able to tell be before the call was lost was, “everyone’s fine but…”. I finally got through to her again and she relayed that the cars had been destroyed. I couldn’t image how the lightening hitting the electrical wire could have resulted in two destroyed vehicles. I guess the only way to appreciate the degree of damage is to look at some of the pictures I snapped after arriving.

Overall, everyone was unharmed, the house was not damaged and the firefighters did a great job at dousing the fire. My entire family and I are extremely thankful for their service. It’s pretty crazy to think that we don’t pay our firefighters and that they operate on a VOLUNTEER basis and yet there they were ready to risk their own safety. They arrived on the scene ready to help and sadly were unable to spring into action until LIPA (serviced by PAID employees, who undoubtedly had to work overtime due to the storms) could arrive (over 1 hr after the wires were struck) and cut the power that was still surging through the downed wires. Thank you again to all the firefighters, we are forever grateful!

Two destroyed vehicles, burnt lawn, and electrical wires

 

Destroyed car and ruptured asphaltDestroyed van, steam rising from wreckage

 

Destroyed van, steam rising from wreckage