OAKLEY (CBS SF) – A low-pressure system approaching the coast spun a volatile mixture of thunder, lightning and rain into Oakley area early Thursday morning, with one lightning strike damaging a home and sending a woman to the hospital.
Fire crews responded to a home on O’Hara Court at around 9:20 a.m. that was hit by lightning, according to the fire dispatcher.
The strike hit a metal flagpole near the front of the home that knocked out the power and sent electricity coursing through the structure.
“We didn’t realize it was lightning strike,” said homeowner James Douglass. “I thought the propane tank had blown up. It was that severe.”
East County firefighters believe the residual energy somehow shocked his sister, who was working outside at the time. Paramedics took her to the hospital with minor injuries.
“Yeah, it was really a scary moment,” said Douglass.
Firefighters told Douglass to put away his flagpole, but the damage is done. The impact shook the house so hard it caused the ceiling fan to fall.
James said the force of the strike also blew out a chuck of stucco that was touching a metal fence. It also damaged the sheet metal flashing around the house.
The storm also caused some scary moments for kids at an Oakley middle school which may have been hit by lightning.
East Contra Costa County Fire Protection District Fire Chief Hugh Henderson said that at 9:20 a.m. there was a report of a lightning strike and fire at O’Hara Park Middle School located at 1100 O’Hara Ave.
Henderson said arriving crews could not locate a fire, but a number of the students were shaken up. Paramedics were brought to the scene and the students were checked out.
One student was extremely upset by the lightning strike and taken to a hospital, according to the Oakley Union Elementary School District’s superintendent’s office.
Eighth grader Jaden Harvey was in the gym taking part in a physical education class when he heard four loud booms.
“I was really scared,” he told KPIX 5. “Everyone was screaming.”
The school’s phones were knocked out for a time and the facility’s electrical system suffered a surge. There was no other damage.
One minute later,
Another lightning strike reported at 9:18 a.m. at Wilbur Avenue and Bridgehead Road damaged a transformer and started a small grass fire, the dispatcher said.
Forecasters predicted pulses of unstable weather would continue track up from the Monterey Bay area through the East Bay and into the North Bay for much of the day.