Family salvaging belongings after home hit by lightning strike

SUGAR LAND, Texas (KTRK) -- A Fort Bend County family is trying to save what they can after a house fire caused by a lightning strike Monday morning.

The strike occurred at about 12:45 a.m., according to Greatwood homeowners Jimmy and Teresa Millican.

Both said they were in bed when they saw sparks outside their second story bedroom window.

"It shook the core of us. I mean it shook the house, I just felt like it went right through me," said Teresa Millican.

At first they didn't realize the house was hit. Jimmy Millican said he climbed the stairs toward the attic and saw only smoke inside.

"I thought I'm not going in there. I could die if I went in there," he said.

His wife brought him a fire extinguisher. It knocked down the flames initially, but they returned. Jimmy and Teresa, their adult daughter, two dogs and a cat got out OK.

The fire department responded in under six minutes. Heavy rain and lightning slowed deployment of ladders and aerial hoses, but a city of Sugar Land spokesperson says crews attacked from the ground and the overall firefighting effort was not delayed. The blaze was under control in 20 minutes.

A partial ceiling collapse led to water flooding portions of the downstairs. The Millicans were able to save some mementos -- old pictures and scrapbooks. Other items were drenched in the water used to put out the fire.

"It's heartbreaking because you don't know if it's gonna be restored or not," said Teresa Millican.

Still, they know "things" can be replaced.

"Thank God we're alive. That's the most important thing," she said.

If there's one lesson, Jimmy Millican said it would be to have a larger fire extinguisher upstairs, so you don't have to run for it.

The family has insurance, but rebuilding will take months. In the meantime, they are living out of a hotel nearby. They need more immediate items like toiletries, food, water, and ice.

Donations are being accepted at River Pointe Church. You can contact Tanya Whitaker at (281) 762-1820. They are also collecting donations at Apex Cheer, located at 4119 S. Main in Stafford.

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