JACKSONVILLE, Fla.-- A massive lightning bolt on Jacksonville's Northside sent shock waves through one local home on Ringneck Drive without even striking it.
District Fire Chief Mike Allen says he's never seen anything like it in his 20 years with Jacksonville Fire Rescue Department.
"It's weird," he said.
Soil is splattered on the walls and windows shattered, but lightning didn't touch the home, only the tree in its backyard.
Authorities say lightning's powerful current ran through the tree's roots and into the home, causing a fire.
"It traveled from the root system into the AC unit, blew out some of the foundation, traveled up into the cable system, low outback on the neighbor's house next door. It's just crazy," said Allen.
A mother and her two children who were inside made it out safely. Firefighters were able to rescue their cat. Neighbors tell me they're amazed they survived such a massive nearby bolt.
"I thought I was hit the lightning. It was just the biggest, loudest sound I've ever heard, the closest I've ever gotten," said neighbor Romy Villanueva.
Insurance agents will assess the damage. Meanwhile the family who lives in the home feels blessed to be alive. They are staying with family friends.