FLORENCE COUNTY, SC (WMBF) - One family is out of their home after lightning struck and blew up a large tree in their front yard, which then fell through their roof.
The strike happened around 7:30 p.m. Monday at the home off Stratton Drive and Pine Needles Road.
The homeowners were inside watching television when the lightning strike occurred. They escaped injury, but can't stay in the home there since there is no power.
Neighbor Michael Jupiter said it sounded like a bomb went off.
"You could hardly hear the thunder inside your house, and then, shortly after, boom," said Jupiter.
That's when the tree blew to pieces in the front yard, breaking a window and causing part of the tree to fall through the roof and into the homeowners' front room.
"The whole street was shut down for a while because the debris was covering the roadway," Jupiter said. "I knew it had to be something devastating."
Chris Williams lives right next door and got home after the lightning strike happened. She said just from the pressure of the lightning, pictures fell off the walls and window panes broke inside her house.
"It was frightening in a way driving up and living here and not knowing how much damage there is to your own house," Williams said.
She added there were splinters and wood all around the neighbors' homes.
"It went around to four houses, there is some across the street at the house, there is some in their back yard as well as their front yard, there was a few pieces in my back yard," Williams said.
Crews with A & I Fire and Water Restoration were there preparing for Wednesday's storm. They put a tarp over the roof and covered a broken window with plywood to prevent water damage. Employees said since the tree was so saturated they think the lightning literally boiled the water within the tree, which caused it to explode.
"I've never seen one this bad since the mid 90s when I began in this industry. There's debris literally over half the neighborhood. Even the neighbors across the street, there's debris on the roof from this explosion," says Phillip Shropshire, a large loss estimator with A & I.
The company said during a typical lightning strike, a circular ring around the tree can be seen all the way to the base. It rarely blows apart the entire tree.
"It'll always be a reminder for you in years to come when a storm comes up, is something going to get hit? So I guess you'll be a little more anxious now for that kind of thing," Williams said.
Restoration crews will be back on Wednesday to make sure there is no more damage caused from the rain. The tree branches and debris won't be cleaned up the insurance company comes to estimate the loss.