MAR VISTA ( — Mar Vista residents were rattled early Friday morning after witnessing lightning spark a house fire during a storm.

The incident happened around 1 a.m. at a one-story residence on Moore Street between the Santa Monica Airport and Venice Boulevard.

Sandra Saunders said she was getting into bed when she saw the lightning bolt strike the home across the street and ignite a blaze in the attic.

“It was like a fireball,” she said.  “I saw this huge flash. It scared me and instantly there was this big explosion.”

Greg Maya said, “We could see big plumes of smoke coming from the house…we’re from back East and we’re used to thunder, but that kind of cracking thunder. This was something else. It sounded bigger and longer.”

“It sounded like a plane had crashed or a locomotive was coming through,” a woman told KCAL9’s Kristine Lazar.

Although it only took about 15 minutes for nearly 30 firefighters to extinguish the fire, neighbors were on edge all night.

“I was terrified. I said to my husband, ‘Can it happen again?’” said Saunders.

Resident David Sumida, however, was more intrigued by the damage of the lightning strike.

The physics professor snapped pictures to show to his students.

“We’re talking about electromagnetic radiation and light and all that stuff. I wanted to take pictures and just show them the power of a lightning strike,” said Sumida.


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