Lightning Strike/Man Injured


Neshoba County, Miss. What's being called a 'freak act of nature' has left a Neshoba County family without a home. Shortly before
2 p.m. Monday a house in southwest Neshoba County, and a man in it, were struck by lightning. This led to a devastating fire.

"Just a freak accident. There's nothing you could've done to stop it," says Chief Ronald Gardner with the County Line Fire Department. He and other volunteers from that department, along with volunteer firefighters from the Tucker community, responded to the blaze.

Investigators say the lightning strike happened in the front room of the house located on Neshoba County Road 527. At the time a man who lived there was on the computer in the room. They say the man was knocked out by the strike, but that someone else in the house was able to revive him.

"When we first got here there was fire coming out of the attic," says Gardner. "Someone else who was in the house had already got him out of the house and got him in an ambulance and took him on to the hospital."

In all, it took roughly 30,000 gallons of water and 1.5 hours to get the fire under control.

"It seems like to us when lightning strikes a house, you just about can't put it out," says Chief Gardner. "I don't know why the only two we've ever had have been just about impossible to put out. This fire was interesting because when we walked in the house there was no fire in the room where he was, but the keypad was on the table on fire and there was nothing else in the room on fire."

The main level of the house suffered extensive water and smoke damage, and the attic was destroyed. As for the victim, he has since been released from the hospital.

"They said he was fine and that he may have the twitches for a couple of days, but they released him Monday and he came back out," says Gardner.

The lightning strike occurred near the Beatline community. The victim was identified as Delbert Matthews. We're told that he's in his mid fifties. Chief Gardner says that Matthews' family was able to salvage a number of items such as pictures and all of the appliances from the house.


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