Lightning strikes home in northern Arkansas, electrician gives advice

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Since lightning hit her home over the weekend, Melissa Roland has been trying to put her house back together.

She heard and felt the hit at 6:30 a.m. Sunday.

"When I came outside, it was just nothing but smoke. It was rolling all through the top of my front entryway," Roland said.

No fire, but still a shock.

"Apparently it hit right there and went through the rebar... and went through the concrete and blew it out," she said. "It's like that electricity was looking for an exit. It was so powerful, it exited twice."

So far, Roland has replaced her breaker box and the main wire. Her landline phone is shot. Now she's worried about her well, which, according to an electrician, is a prime target for lightning.

"They're just a big ground rod. The lightning can dissipate quickly. So even if lightning hits the house, it's going to try to go through that because that's the least resistance to earth," Joshua Devall said.

Joshua Devall is a master electrician with Apex Electrical Services. He said lightning damage to houses is common.

He said there is no way to protect necessary appliances like wells or refrigerators, but you can minimize the damage to other items in your home like TVs and computers by unplugging them.There are other things you can do, too.

"There's devices we can put in your main distribution panel that can absorb a lot of surge potential," Devall said.

He said you can also use power trips, as long as they are surge protectors. Devall said there are limits to anything you use to absorb lightning because it is so powerful.

This isn't the first time lightning has hit Roland's home. She said it hit her antenna a few years ago.

"If it wasn't for the concrete, I don't know, this house probably would've been gone," she said.

Devall said the house that saved Roland from damage is probably what caused the lightning strike in the first place.

"Lightning is going to pick it over wood. It allows it to travel easier so cement structure's going to sustain far less damage than a wooden structure," he said.

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