Lightning strikes local residence

By Chris Mannara
Staff Writer

Two lightning strikes that both took place on Monday ended with a lucky resident having a story to tell future generations and a not-so-lucky tree.

Pagosa Fire Protection District (PFPD) received the first page for a residence struck by lightning on Monday around 4:13 p.m., according to Deputy Chief Karn Macht.

PFPD personnel arrived on scene around 4:20 p.m., according to Macht.

“It appears that the lightning hit somewhere on the roof and traveled down and blew out a chunk of drywall above the kitchen stove and cut the power. But luckily, no smoke, fire or any charring,” Macht said in an interview on Tuesday.

One of the homeowners was inside the home at the time of the strike and was actually cooking on the stove at the time of the strike, according to Macht.

“She was completely freaked out. She was not hurt, thank goodness,” Macht said. “It looked like it traveled through and hit a nail and pushed the nail out through the drywall. It happened about 4 feet above her head.”

No other homes or any of the surrounding area were affected, according to Macht.

PFPD personnel cleared the scene around 4:52 p.m., Macht noted.

According to Macht, it is uncommon to not have any smoke or fire after a lightning strike hits a residence.

“Unfortunately, when we do get a lightning strike on a house, it’s not good news because it puts little bits of fire everywhere,” he said. “The couple homes that we have had hit have started fires and were almost complete losses.”

Around 4:20 p.m., the PFPD received another call that lightning struck a tree on a ridge in the Deer Trail area, according to Macht.

The PFPD arrived on scene at 4:32 p.m., Macht noted.

“We had that lightning storm that went through and dropped a little lightning on the ridge, hit the tree and was burning midline in the tree,” he said. “We were able to get a hose line up to the tree and knock it down.”

PFPD personnel found out that the tree was actually on U.S. Forest Service (USFS) property, which led to USFS personnel taking over the fire, Macht described.

“They had to cut down the tree the next day because there was still smoldering where the water couldn’t hit,” he said.

No other trees or the surrounding area were in danger of being affected, Macht noted.

The fire was controlled at 5:24 p.m. and the PFPD cleared the scene at 5:52 p.m.

This story was posted on August 5, 2020.