ALBANY, GA (WALB) - A South Albany man says he almost went back into his burning home to save his belongings. Tonight he's glad he thought better of it.
He escaped unhurt after his home was hit by lightning last night.
Firefighters say people really need to pay attention during a thunderstorm warning, because lightning's danger is real. Tony Haycliff said "This is where it really started from. It hit the box right here. And then by the time it hit the box, it spread this way."
Haycliff said he was watching TV just before 11:00 last night during a thunderstorm, when he heard lightning hit close by. "Yea, I heard the boom. I heard the boom and then I came out. But it was too late. It was in motion."
Investigators say the lightning may have hit a tree and jumped to the house's electric panel in the storage room. Then it raced across the attic.
Albany Fire Department Investigator Sam Harris said "The good news was that he was awake."
"It happened real quick and fast. I mean you couldn't believe how quick the fire spread," Haycliff said.
Haycliff has a lawn business and his mower and truck were under the carport. He could not move the truck, because he came out without his keys. The heat from the fire made him stop from going back inside for them. "Trying to go back and get my keys. I see why people mess up. Try to go back and save stuff. It ain't worth it."
The smoke was heavy in there? "Oh, yeah."
Haycliff ran water from his garden hose on his equipment to keep the fire from consuming them as well.
Firefighters say people need to be aware of the fire danger from a lightning storm. Harris said "There is a lot of energy. 2,000 to 7,000 volts of electricity instantaneous coming into your home is going to cause a fire."
Tony Haycliff brought out the few items that were not burned, but was thankful that he was not hurt.
Unfortunately he did not have renters insurance. Firefighters urge people that rent to get renters insurance, to help in case of even a natural disaster like a lightning strike.