My niece just called and told me that about an hour and a half ago, lightning struck my brother's home and burned it nearly to the ground. His son ran in through the fire to wake him up, and Don said they could barely find their way out of the house for all the smoke. His mother-in-law lives with them and has Alzheimers. Gail grabbed her mother and got her out. Micah got Don out and then went back in and found the dog. So everyone is safe.
The fire dept. is still there putting out hot spots. Don is crying and upset because all of the family pictures are probably gone. He said he tried to go back in to get a picture of Mom and Dad but the fire was too hot. Then the gas tanks in the motor home and both vehicles blew up almost simultaneously. There's a horrible rain storm going on now and it's dark. He couldn't even call the fire dept because his cell was in his car and Gail's was in her purse in the house. A neighbor finally pulled in about 30 minutes after the house started burning, saw what was happening and called 911.
I talked to Don by calling the neighbor's cell phone a few minutes ago. He said when the roof caved in, he knew it was all gone. This is their dream home that they lovingly built and was in it three weeks when Hurricane Andrew took the roof off of it. So they rebuilt it and planned on staying the rest of their lives there. He is worried about what they'll do in the meantime, but he's got plenty of insurance. An ambulance came to get Grandma to take her to a facility that can take care of her until they can get settled somewhere.
I'm just so worried about him as he just had the back surgery a couple of months ago, and has a really bad heart. The neighbor told me, before he put Don on the phone, that they have taken charge of him and will watch him real closely to make sure he's okay.
He's so far away, and I know I could be of help to them if I were there. I'm feeling real helpless right now.
Please keep Don and his family in your thoughts and prayers. It's so heartbreaking to know that his beautiful home on acreage with all those gorgeous live oak trees is gone.