Just before 3 a.m. on Wednesday, the McNellis family on Jake Court in the Upper Miller Creek area were awakened by an enormous thunderclap, and discovered that lightning had caused a tree to burst into flames. 

Sarah McNellis said the thunder woke her up and she looked outside to find a tree outside her window was in flames. She said her neighbors were the first to arrive to help.

"Before the fire department even arrived, our neighbors immediately arrived to help," she said. "We were using buckets of water and a neighbor's hose, but we weren't having much luck because the lightning had hit a gas line, so the fire just kept coming up out of the ground. Then, someone came over with a fire extinguisher and that seemed to put it down. The fire department arrived at that point and took care of the fire. From that point on..we were dealing with the gas leak."

McNellis said Northwestern Energy took care of the gas leak, but the lightning strike also damaged the cable line on the other side of her home.

"Our power box is all charred up, and on the other side of the house our cable line is all frayed and you can see burn marks on our house," she said. "So, we're not sure where where it hit or where it traveled, but we're discovering the power of lightning."

More thunderstorms are in the forecast for Wednesday night into Thursday morning.

Sarah McNellis - Homeowner