Lightning strike destroys rural Sheboygan Co. chimney

Piece by piece, workers cleared heavy stones and mortar from the Truax's front yard Monday afternoon.

\"All of the sudden I heard this loud bang and I knew we were hit immediately,\" Mary Truax said.

Truax was alone in her rural Sheboygan County home around 11 this morning when a strong lightning storm hit.

\"I didn't really feel the house shake, but I did smell the smoke and how loud it was, It was pretty loud,\" Truax said.

Lightning hit the top of the home's chimney at the cap, went through the rebar inside and exploded out the sides several feet down. It threw heavy stones across the yard.  Fire crews from nearby Cascade searched inside the home but didn't find any signs of fire or structural damage. No one was injured.

\"Dumbfounded,\" worker Russel Puetz said. \"Never seen nothing like it.\"

Puetz's family business, Bill's Electric, got the call to come work on the damaged chimney. Monday wasn't his first time on this roof, having installed the chimney with his grandfather 17 years earlier.  Repairs will likely take about two weeks.

\"Gonna have to tear the roof open,\" Puetz said. \"It's more work than people expect. That and the stones aren't light.\"

Puetz says he's built 500 chimneys over the years, but he's never seen one damaged by lightning.

It's an experience the Truaxes have had enough of. The couple says lightning his their same home several years ago. That storm blew the garage door and siding off and knocked out their phones and TVs.

\"Oh yeah, yeah, yeah,\" Truax said of her nerves for expected evening storms. \"Because we know now, lightning does hit twice In the same place.\"

The Truaxes are considering putting lightning rods up on their home. They don't plan to move.

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