Lightning storm causes fire and power outage in Visalia

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Thursday?s electrical storm lit up the night sky, and started a fire in one central Visalia neighborhood. (KFSN)

Thursdays electrical storm lit up the night sky, and started a fire in one central Visalia neighborhood when a lightning bolt hit the ground near Grove and Divisidaro.

Michelle Powell lives across the street from the lightning strike. "It felt like an atomic bomb went off and the world ended, that's what it felt like."

Three 60 foot tall cypress trees were ignited by the blast, showering the neighborhood with flaming debris. The roof of one house was scorched. Visalia Firefighters managed to douse the flames quickly.

There were hundreds of lightning strikes all over the Valley, but damage was limited. Darrin Hughes, a Battalion Chief for the Visalia Fire Department said lightning fires are not common, but can be a problem. "Some of those ground strikes do hit trees or houses and we've had incidents where they've hit power poles head on. We are just very fortunate nobody was hurt in this incident."

The blast of electricity from the lightning bolt energized power lines, frying circuits and knocking out power to about 30 homes.
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