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Oak Street Couple Watches as Their House Burns Saturday [VIDEO]

The homeowners, who were home when their 1927 house was struck by lightning, were not injured.

A home at the corner of Third and Oak streets caught fire Saturday afternoon after it was struck by lightning.

Marty and Suzanne Battistoni were in the basement of their home at 223 S. Oak St. shortly after 4 p.m. when they heard a loud "pop," as she described it.

"We didn't know it was on fire because we were in the basement," Suzanne said. "We still had power except for one light that blew in the basement. It was the loudest pop I've ever heard. It shook the house."

She ran upstairs to try to put the fire out with a fire extinguisher after she saw smoke coming from the second floor, she said. Marty immediately called 911.

"I saw the smoke. It was coming through the medicine cabinet, through the wall," she said. "It was pretty smokey up there. I was like, 'I've got to get out of here.' "

She ran back downstairs and grabbed her cat, and they got out of the house.

"The fire immediately got into the walls," Marty said. "It was just smoldering and we couldn't get to it."

The blaze spread quickly. By the time the fire department arrived, flames were shooting from the second floor window, Marty said.

Marty said he hoped the fire would be contained to the second floor, but as he watched, the fire appeared to spread to the first floor.

The home was built in 1927 and had been remodeled before the Battistonis moved into it in 2003. Suzanne said while they hadn't done any of the remodeling themselves, they "just tried to keep it nice." She said she had a number of antiques.

Marty and Suzanne were both calm, considering what they were witnessing.

"I just can't even process it," she said as she watched her house burn. "I've never lived through a fire before."

But they both said they were grateful no one was hurt.

"It's just a building," Suzanne said.

Firefighters at the scene had no comment, and an estimate of damage was not immediately available.

Tina Tuszynski August 04, 2012 at 11:40 PM
Wow, my condolences to them. My parents' house got struck by lightning back in the 1970's; it came down the chimney and started their electric stove range on fire. Luckily they were home and able to call the fire department and it was contained. Thank God the Battistonis are okay. Makes you realize how serious lightning can be.
Margaret August 05, 2012 at 05:44 AM
So sad. Several years ago, lightning struck a tree across the parkway from our house, traveled through the roots to our water pipes, broke our water meter in the basement, which was behind wood paneling, and then started to flood the finished part of our basement. Thanks to the quick work of the city water department, the water just soaked the carpeting, which had to be thrown away. I don't know what it would be like to watch your house and all the things you love inside burn uncontrollably.

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