Lightning strikes West Chester home

WEST CHESTER, Pa. - August 18, 2011

It happened at a residence on the 800 block of East Locust Lane.

Firefighters worked quickly to save the home as violent weather ripped through the area.

The residents of the home, Richard Cole and his family heard the strike but thought that it only hit one of the large trees in their yard.

Minutes later, the family smelled smoke and realized something happened.

"Everyone came downstairs and ran out. It was pouring rain. We walked out with the clothes on our back," said Cole.

Cole says the lightning struck his daughter's bedroom and sparked a fire which snaked its way through the roof until it reached his son's bedroom. However, some parts of the home were unaffected by the strike.

Neighbors say that the storm was one of the worst that they've experienced.

"We woke up and thought our house had been hit by lightning. Unfortunately it was one of our neighbors," said Ed Bernhard.

Cole, his wife, and his daughter are all artists and much of their work and possessions have been destroyed.

"What do you say, it's the things, its pictures, objects that can be replaced hopefully," said Cole.

The Red Cross is helping the Cole family with food, clothing, and a hotel room as they try to recover from the destructive fire.

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