Lightning strikes home east of Safford burns to total loss

Photo By Paul Schulz: Lighting was abundant during a storm Thursday night into Friday morning. One strike like this one captured by local shutterbug Paul Schulz earlier in the night struck a residence east of Safford and burned it to the ground. 

By Jon Johnson

SAN JOSE – Close lightning strikes often wake people from their slumber. However, the lightning that struck a residence east of Safford early Friday morning pretty much blew the occupants out of the home with nothing more than the clothes on their backs. 

First responders were dispatched to a residence in the 6600 block of east U.S. Highway 70 near San Jose after lightning struck a house at about 12:12 a.m. 

According to Safford Fire Chief Clark Bingham, a man and woman were in the residence at the time of the lightning strike but managed to escape the residence without serious injury. 

“Lightning hit the house and he got up and the house was full of smoke,” Bingham said. “He had enough time to get himself and his wife out and went to the neighbors and called the fire department.”

The house was fully engulfed with flames upon the firefighters’ arrival, however, they managed to stifle the blaze and salvage a third of the house and an unattached apartment. However, with the smoke and water damage, the home was deemed a total loss.

Safford Fire was on scene until about 3:30 a.m. and finished cleaning up at the fire station at 4:30 a.m. before calling it a night.