A fire heavily damaged a Union County home that was apparently struck by lightning Wednesday afternoon.
No one was hurt in the blaze, which occurred at a two-story house at 1624 Highway 30 E. shortly before 5 p.m.
The homeowners, Drew and Kristen Richey, lived at the house with their three sons, ages 17, 15 and 12. The family had lived at the house nearly 18 years.
Drew and Kristen Richey raised their three children in the home, and the couple planned on living out the rest of their days there.
The three boys were home when the fire started, and their parents were at work. The boys reportedly heard the lightning strike the house. There was a loud noise, and the house shook. They went outside to see what happened and saw smoke coming from the roof.
Drew Richey praised firefighters for quickly responding to the scene. Normally, the family would have gone to church on Wednesday. But instead they watched as firefighters sprayed water on the flames coming from the second story.
Neighbors and church friends came to the house to offer support as smoke billowed from the residence.
The family pets — two cats and a dog — were also uninjured in the fire.
Fortunately, the lightning strike did not occur at night when everyone was asleep, Drew Richey said.
The family was able to retrieve some invaluable possessions from the house such as hard drives with digital photos, a large painting of the children when they were little and video cassettes. But it appears other possessions, such as wedding photos and some baby pictures, were lost.
The family will likely rebuild at the site, which is family land.
Union County Emergency Management Director Curt Clayton said several fire departments responded, including Northeast, Center, North Haven, the city of New Albany and Southeast.