Massive, jagged, angry veins of electricity. By 10 p.m., the night sky was having a tough time staying dark.
Three hours later..."We were all in bed and everyone was asleep and there was this real loud boom!," said Veda Howell. 38 years of memories were destroyed by a bolt of lightning that started a fire which was still smoldering 36 hours after it began. Firefighters poured on 20,000 gallons of water in four hours, but were still unable to save the home that Veda and Joe had worked towards their entire lives. "We bought it when my husband retired. That was our big home, that was our prize," said Veda.
"The flames was already coming out of the roof," said Spur Fire Chief Greg Arnold. He had to enlist the aid of two other towns to fight the blaze. "The problem we have on these rural fires is water supply. We have to haul all the water to it. So that is a hindrance," he said.
All five occupants escaped the fire without injury, including Veda's two grandchildren, Tra and Brody. "There was smoke in the house and everyone was running around. The dogs were scared and just worried about getting everyone out of the house," said Tra.
As her husband met with an insurance adjuster, Veda tried to find the bright side in the ironic survival of the swimming pool. "The swimming pool. We may just go fishing," she laughed. "I don't know," she said.
The Howells are currently staying with their son, although a perfect stranger in Dickens offered them a fully furnished house that they could live in until they get back on their feet. And that, some are saying, is another act of God.