Lightning struck a mobile home in East Milton, sparking a fire that engulfed a propane tank, prompting a man to use his experience and bravery to hold off an explosion until help arrived.
Wayne Hodgson was in the home with his two dogs when lightning struck his residence at 5042 Bent Tree Road.
"It sounded bad," Hodgson said. "It sounded real bad."
The lightning strike shut off power in the residence. He said he was talking on the phone and didn't realize that his trailer was on fire until a neighbor notified him. Hodgson, an aircraft mechanic, ran outside to assess the situation.
The fire was burning the side of the trailer and had set a propane tank on fire, according to Hodgson. He started to fight the fire with a garden hose, knowing that he had to keep the propane tank cool, so it would not explode.
While bare-chested in the rain, Hodgson doused the propane tank with water until the East Milton Fire Department arrived.
Lt. Tom Hawkins said it took less than five minutes to quench the fire. They used a fire extinguisher filled with CO2 as well as water from a fire engine to finish off the fire.
"The Co2 comes out at about negative 40 degrees," Hawkins said. "We used it to cool off the lines of the tank."
After the fire was handled, Hodgson noticed that the headlights of his white Ford SUV were mysteriously lit. He said no other lights of the vehicle were on, such as brake lights or the interior lights---just the headlights. He attempted to start the vehicle to no avail.
"Trucks broke," Hodgson said. "Trailer's on fire. Lawnmowers ruined. Well, that's all I need."
The home suffered minor damage in the fire, according to officials. There was minor smoke damage inside and no one suffered any injuries. Hodgson said he would fix the minor damages himself and would be able to restore things back to normal in just a couple of days.
"I feel blessed," Hodgson said. "They say it could have been worse. And it keeps getting worse."