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Lightning strike hits home in Monessen, causes fire

House in Monessen struck by lightning
House in Monessen struck by lightning 02:32

MONESSEN, Pa. (KDKA) — A Westmoreland County couple has a major cleanup process ahead of them after their house was struck by lightning. 

Chris Vaccaro's home in Monessen looks pretty much the same as it has for years, except for the massive dumpster in the driveway. It is there because inside the home looks a lot different.

"It doesn't feel like home," he said.

His living room ceiling is gone after collapsing under the weight of water. There are also burns seared on the bottom of his roof. All because of the lightning strike that hit the house and started a fire. 

"The force of the lightning forced me off the couch and onto the floor," Vaccaro said. "About three minutes later, we smelled smoke and called 911."

His wife just happened to be recording in their backyard when the lightning strike hit the corner of their roof.

"I've heard a lot of fireworks over the years, but this was actually like the loudest crackling sound I've ever heard before. And it was more or less the pressure of the sound in my head that caused this ringing, sharp, loud sound," Vaccaro said. 

He said firefighters quickly put out the flames they could see.

"They were finishing up and the chief said you're gonna hate this, but I want to cut a hole in the ceiling just to make sure the fire is actually out," Vaccaro said. 

It's a good thing they did because once it opened up, fire poured out. 

"Luckily he did that because otherwise, they would have left and we'd be calling them back again," Vaccaro said. 

Their quick call to 911 after smelling smoke was the difference between losing a living room and losing an entire home. 

"I wish I could use that luck and hit the lottery," Vaccaro said. "One in a million is usually what they say lightning is going to strike a house."

He thinks everything will be cleaned up and they'll be inside in a month or two. There were no injuries.

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