Homeowners thankful for prompt action after lightning strike
It could have been worse -- a Red Sand Lake couple is thanking the Brainerd Fire Department for saving their home after a lightning strike.
Mike and Sue Forland were watching television Sunday night, July 14, in their living room when they saw the flash and felt the strike that landed about 50 feet away. While it sounded like a bomb going off or being at the epicenter of a Fourth of July fireworks finale, Mike Forland said they knew it was a lightning strike. The TV went off and the room was black, he said. There was a strong sulfur smell in the air and smoke was coming from the garage’s eave.
Heavy rain from the severe thunderstorm was already wreaking havoc in Brainerd and Baxter. And an apparent lightning strike less than an hour earlier burned an attached garage, vehicles and its contents with flames moving into the home’s attic on Shady Lane Circle in Unorganized Territory.
On Red Sand Lake, the flash and concussion of a second apparent lightning strike was followed in short order by smoke and flames from their three-stall garage. Sue Forland called the fire department. The couple moved their vehicles, her car and a trailer, out of the garage. Mike Forland said it’s never taken him so many times to connect the trailer, adding it took him six tries to get the trailer lined up.
Firefighters were dispatched from Brainerd and a crew left the scene of the Shady Lane Circle fire to respond to the Forland home. Upon arrival, firefighters found smoke coming from the eaves of the garage and charring on the exterior of a wall, consistent with a lightning strike. Firefighters put out a small fire and removed burned siding and wiring.
For Mike Forland, the prompt arrival of the fire department saved the place they’ve called home since 2002. A little later, Mike Forland said, would have meant an entirely different outcome.
“Those guys were great. I couldn’t even ask for anything better,” Mike Forland said. “They jumped out of their truck, they did what they had to do and they put the fire out. So really that is the main part of the story, is thank you to the professionals at the Brainerd Fire Department for their prompt arrival and for saving the house.”