OLDSMAR, Fla. (WFLA) — It was not the afternoon Marcie Quian and her children were prepared for when it began to rain on Tuesday.
“We heard a very loud pop, and drywall flew off the wall in our house and we smelled an odor,” said the Florida mother said.
What they smelled was smoke from a lightning strike. In fact, at one point, there were 200 strikes in a 15-minute period.
Quian described how her daughter reacted when the lightning struck their home just before 5 p.m.
“She hit the ground. The pop happened, it was so loud, she jumped down on the ground as just a natural reaction,” Quian explained.
Moments after the lightning struck their home, the family ran outside to check their roof and saw a nearby house was on fire with children inside.
“That’s when we noticed smoke coming out from their roof,” Quian said.
Oldsmar Assistant Fire Chief Renee Neiman said the family was very lucky.
“The kids are OK, they were able to get out. The neighbors were able to help them get a hold of their parents, and everybody’s fine,” Neiman said.
Firefighters believe that lightning struck the first house, arced over the home in between, then caused the next house to ignite with the kids inside.
Quian said if lightning had not struck her home first, she wouldn’t have called 911 — a call that ultimately saved the lives of two children.
“You just have to pay attention. We’re very thankful we were outside. It’s not about us compared to what happened to them. They’re 10 times worse,” Quian said.