Midway Fire Department responded to a 911 call after lightning struck a home at 1664 Champagne Ave in Gulf Breeze. At the same time, Holley-Navarre Fire Department responded to a report of a woods fire on the opposite side of the same street.
Storms that blew into the Navarre area today brought dark clouds, some heavy rain and lightning in the early afternoon hours. Jordan Edwards, 14, had just arrived home from school when he heard a noise that sounded like “an explosion.”
“I didn’t know if there was a fire, but I called my mom, my dad and my grandma, and I couldn’t get a hold of them, so I just called the police,” Edwards said.
His grandmother, Pat Swan, saw she had two missed calls on her cell phone from her grandson and thought she should call him back. When she did, she learned that he had already alerted authorities.
“He’s a hero,” said Swan.
While Midway firefighters assessed the damage to the roof, Holley-Navarre firefighters pulled their hoses through the backyard of 1663 Champagne Ave in order to squelch a woods fire that was also caused by lightning.
Heavy smoke filtered through the trees as Lt. Bryan Razzoog and firefighter Ernest Harris quickly took care of the fire. Within minutes, they had the fire contained and put out.
Back at 1664 Champagne Ave, Midway Fire Chief Jonathan Kanzigg supervised the crew on the roof. A tarp was placed over the hole, which Kanzigg described as six-feet wide, to protect the interior from any further water damage.
Lt. Ernie Johnson and firefighter Levi Alderfer worked to place the temporary tarp over the gaping hole while navigating their way across the slippery tiles.
Tiles from the home were blown into the neighboring yard, including the home across the street. With three fire trucks on the street and multiple crews at work, neighbors gathered to ensure that everyone was safe. No injuries were reported at either location.
The National Weather Service estimates that more than 22 million cloud to ground lightning strikes occur each year in the United States. Florida has the most reported lightning strikes of any state.