Lightning strike causes house fire in Mesa

A Mesa couple is grateful to be alive after lightning struck their house while they were asleep overnight.

According to the Mesa Fire & Medical Department, the incident happened just after 2 a.m. on Oct. 5 near Gilbert and Brown Roads.

"Appears this was started by a [lightning] strike to the roof," the department told FOX 10.

The homeowners say she and her husband were woken up by a loud boom.

"I went back to bed. I said ‘oh, that was interesting.’ I was warm because the fan had gone off. I had no idea. We had no clue," said Shari Ferring.

Ferring didn't realize their roof was on fire until a neighbor alerted them.

"We couldn’t smell or see anything inside, had no clue the house was on fire outside. It wasn’t until we got out and away from the home, the whole roof was in flames," said Ferring.

The Ferrings escaped just minutes before the entire roof became engulfed in flames.

"It just continues to burn, just like a bonfire," said Mesa Fire and Medical Department Battalion Chief Brian Hickey. "There was no fire penetrating to the interior of the house. The fire was just going across the roofline as they were trying to control it."

Over four dozen firefighters were on scene, and because of the kindling-like roof and the home's large size, it took crews a while to put out the flames. Homes in the area were built in the 1970s with shake shingle roofs, but many homeowners have since replaced their rooftops with tile.

The Ferrings have since returned to their home to assess the damage.

"It’s worse than we thought, but we’re so grateful for the neighbors that didn’t go back to bed. They saw there was something going on, so they took the effort to come over and basically saved us," said Ferring. 

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