Lightning bolt to blame for East Texas fire - KYTX CBS 19 Tyler Longview News Weather Sports

Lightning bolt to blame for East Texas fire

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Rusk County (KYTX) -- Storm activity left its mark on parts of Deep East Texas. Reports ranged from power outages to downed trees, and a lightning strike that caught a gas line on fire.

"It was loud, just about knocked me out of bed. Sounded like an explosion," Jack Pace, who lives in a home where the fire happened in Rusk County, said.

Pace didn't sleep much overnight after that bolt of lightning struck a cedar tree next to his home.

"It had about 20-foot flame coming out of it," Pace said.

Since it was 3:30 a.m. Monday, he chose to stay inside his home and just make sure the fire didn't get too close.

 "We were scared at first, but called 911 and fire department and gas company," Pace said.

Mt. Enterprise and East Side firefighters were somewhat prepared for a call like this with severe weather warnings.

"As we arrived on scene, we saw that we had a fire showing from the line that had been ruptured," Tim Wheat, a volunteer firefighter with the Mt. Enterprise Fire Department, said.

Wheat tells me out of fear of a second explosion, the best they could do was monitor the fire and make sure it didn't spread. They were also busy with other unexpected snags like downed trees.

"Electricity was out in this area also," Wheat said.

And when the power went out--there was no doubt--it was from the storm.

"Just a loud bang, sounded like a cannon going off," Larry Creel, who lives in Mt. Enterprise, said.

Creel called SWEPCO and was only inconvenienced a couple of hours. He says it's not the first time, or the last, he expects to be affected by East Texas weather.
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