Lightning strikes home, boat in Federal Way

Pierce and South King Counties were hit hardest by an intense lightning storm Wednesday.

The system brought hundreds of lightning strikes to Western Washington.

>>PHOTOS: Lightning strikes experienced across Puget Sound during morning storm

Just after 9:30 a.m., lightning struck the Twin Lakes neighborhood in Federal Way.

“I was in a meeting, heard a loud explosion and the house shook a little bit, and the lights flickered,” said Robert Addison, who recently moved to Federal Way. “You could see like sparks, and I was like, ‘oh crap!’” he said.

He said then he smelled smoke and went to check if his home or any trees on his property were hit. But the lightning bolt actually hit his neighbor’s home.

“I just saw a big flash outside the living room windows and of course, it rattled me,” said Lila Knox, who has lived in the neighborhood for decades. “It was disturbing and I realized there was smoke on different parts of the house,” she said.

The strike left a charred outlet and an electrical panel that controlled the sprinkler system heavily damaged.

“Blown off the wall,” Knox said. It also messed up power throughout the house.

“TV antenna is apparently not working, different electrical outlets, my washing machine hose,” Knox said.

South King Fire & Rescue came and checked everything out to make sure there was no fire lingering in the walls.

Simultaneously, its fire rescue boat was responding to another lightning strike — this time, hitting a boat near Dash Point State Park.

“What are the odds of that, two lightning strikes in two minutes,” said Capt. Brad Chaney, with South King Fire & Rescue. “It was a 50-foot yacht-type boat. A father and son out and about got hit and struck by lightning and all of a sudden everything just stopped working.”

No one was hurt and crews were able to tow the father and son to Tacoma.

“Middle of August lightning storm,” Chaney said. “They were panicked about the whole situation but thankful we were able to be there,” he said.

Tacoma Public Utilities said at one point in the morning, 13,000 customers lost power. Puget Sound Energy said more than 7,000 customers lost power at one point.

Most customers had their power restored by late afternoon on Wednesday.