Mary Jo Basarto liked watching storms. She never dreamed that she would be caught right in the middle of one.
Last Thursday, around 5:45 a.m., the forecasters were predicting that a potentially dangerous storm cell would pass through the area. Basarto was on her side porch, watching. The storm never materialized, however, there was lightning. At least one bolt of lightning, the one that hit her house on West Boulevard.
"I was standing on the porch and heard this crack. There was no flash of light, but when I looked there was a fireball right above the ground. I yelled to my husband that we had been hit by lightning."
Basarto's husband, Barry Meuse, came outside and said, "I think it hit the house," and suggested that they go upstairs to check for damage.
Basarto wasn't convinced and wanted to wait until it stopped raining. However, they decided to go check the upstairs floor.
When they opened the door to their bedroom, the whole room was on fire. Basarto acted quickly and put it out with a blanket. What she didn't realize until she saw smoke billowing from the eaves and huge flames coming from the window, was that the fire was far from over.
MEUSE WENT up on the roof with a hose, trying to extinguish the flames, while they tried to call 911. It took them four tries before they were connected to the correct substation. Once they were connected to the Sherwood Hall station, the trucks were there very quickly.
The firefighters didn't have to use too much water to put out the blaze; however they needed to punch holes in the wall to determine where the fire was. They said that another 20 minutes and the whole roof would have been on fire.
"The firemen were wonderful," said Basarto. She's also pleased with her insurance company, USAA. They've already been out to the home to assess the structural damage. They are also in the process of cleaning their linens and clothing and restoring or replacing the furniture. Basarto and her husband were in the process of fixing up this house, so they already had a contractor that they were working with. They expect the room to be restored in about three months.