LEANDER, Texas (KXAN) — Firefighters suspect lightning during Monday’s storm started a fire that displaced a family of four in Leander.
Ray Barros, his two children and their dogs made it out of the home on Long Lasso Pass safely. His wife, Claudia, rushed back to Leander from south Austin after hearing about the fire.
Barros said a neighbor saw a lightning strike when storms came through at about 12:30 p.m. and alerted him that it may have hit his house. He said he heard a loud clap of thunder and lost power around that time. Flames and a large amount of smoke could then be seen coming from the peak of the roof.
Leander firefighters told KXAN that the family will have to replace their entire roof, plus fix significant water damage on the second story. A large hole could be seen through the roof.
The Barros moved their family into the home last August after both Ray and Claudia retired from lengthy careers in the military. They said they learned resilience during those years of service that will help them get through this situation, too.
“Through our military experience we’ve hopped to different locations, different areas, different environments so we’re able to adjust and just be thankful to be alive and make sure we do things differently next time if it happens again,” Ray said.
Another neighbor, who lost his own home in the same neighborhood after a lightning strike, brought over a tarp to cover the hole in the roof.
Another neighbor set up a GoFundMe page Monday for the family, and it has raised more than $3,400 of the $5,000 requested as of 5 p.m.
A city spokesman said lightning strikes have caused nine structure fires in Leander during the past two years, including three in this particular neighborhood.