Family saves home with fire extinguisher after it was struck by lightning

Local News

LUBBOCK, Texas — Lightning struck a South Lubbock home on Memorial Day and the family was able to save their house with a fire extinguisher.

Wade Wilkes, the homeowner, said it was just after 9:00 a.m. when his family heard a sudden, jarring sound.

“[It] woke me and everybody else in the house straight up. Very loud, sounded like a shotgun going off in the house,” said Wilkes.

Wilkes said he got up and went into the kitchen where he smelled something burning.

“[I asked my wife], ‘Did you burn some eggs earlier?’ And she was like, ‘No,'” said Wilkes

Wilkes said he opened the door to the garage, where he immediately smelled burning wood. He cracked the ceiling door to his attic and saw flames.

“I was yelling, ‘Hey, dial 911 and get me that fire extinguisher,'” said Wilkes. “Being in the Army and a combat veteran for 25 years, this is just stuff when there’s an emergency you just act, and you do, and you go.”

Phillip Grandon, a Captain with the Lubbock Fire Department, said a fire extinguisher is a good fire safety tool to have around the home.

“This is going to be your first line of defense in a fire and especially if you can catch it while it’s small,” said Grandon. “Then you absolutely have a chance of putting it out and before it gets to big and causes a whole lot of damage to your home.”

Grandon said it’s important to keep the fire extinguisher in a place where it is accessible and where everyone in the home knows is located. In addition, he recommends changing out your extinguisher every five years.

Grandon said homeowners looking to add a fire extinguisher to their home should purchase an ABC fire extinguisher, which will have a dry chemical in powdered form to put out a fire.

Grandon said anyone using a fire extinguisher can remember how to use one by remembering the acronym P.A.S.S.

  • Pull the Pin
  • Aim the extinguisher at the base of the flam
  • Squeeze the operating handle
  • Sweep from side to side

Wilkes said he learned from the experience and next time he will add fire detectors to the inside of his attic. Wilkes said he was fortunate to be at home when it happened and advises others to always take personal precautions.

“The key is time,” said Wilkes, “If it was totally involved and totally enflamed, I probably would not have gone up in there. Your life is more important than any car or any material object that can probably be replaced and hopefully insured.”

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