Jacksonville family displaced by house fire sparked by lightning

JACKSONVILLE, Fla. — A Jacksonville family of four was forced to take shelter in a local hotel Tuesday night after a Mandarin house fire.

JFRD says the fire was sparked by a lightning strike, and tore through the attic, leaving the home unlivable.

Peter and Marcy Watry tell Action News Jax their family ran out of the home with their pet dog, Zoe, after they noticed the smoke coming from the attic.

“[Lightning] hit the back tree, and then it came into the roof of our house,” said Marcy.

Action News Jax cameras spotted what appeared to be the aftermath of a lightning strike on a tree behind the house.

“Within ten minutes we started smelling the smoke,” said Peter. “And came out into the rain and saw the smoke pouring out of the roof vents.”

“I was like, let’s get out of the house. We took our valuables,” said Marcy. “Of our purse and wallet.”

“As soon as we had the smoke, it’s like, call 9-1-1, grab what you need. IDs, medicine, and [Zoe]!” said Peter.

In the fire’s aftermath, a gaping hole was left in the roof of the house. Charred remnants of insulation debris covered what was left of the living room.

Action News Jax crews could hear a smoke detector blaring amongst the rubble after JFRD had put out the fire.

The Red Cross responded to help the Watry family. The family says they’ll be staying in a hotel with Zoe as they rebuild their lives.

Though the family’s left to pick up the pieces of a home destroyed by fire, they say their faith allows them to smile.

“Things can be replaced. Our lives cannot,” said Marcy.

“I’m also a Roman Catholic Deacon, San Jose parish here,” said Peter. “And it’s belief in God. Like [Marcy] said, everybody’s safe.”