Construction crews stop fire after lightning strikes Germantown home

GERMANTOWN - When lightning struck the side of Penny Stephan's home in Washington County, she had just sat down to drink a cup of coffee.

"It sounded like a shotgun had gone off," she said.

It happened Wednesday morning as severe storms moved through the area. Stephan says she looked outside, but didn't see anything, until a few minutes later.

"I saw men running through my yard," she said. "I opened my patio door and was told my house was on fire."

A construction crew from C.D. Smith working on an addition at Rockfield Elementary School in Germantown saw the smoke from across a soccer field.

A group of about nine people ran over from the job site, bringing two fire extinguishers with them.

"I looked over, there was smoke so I had to get my husband out of the shower, my daughter out of the shower and try to get people out of the house," said Stephan.

By the time firefighters arrived, Capt. Tony Burgard with the Richfield Volunteer Fire Company says there was nothing left to extinguish.

"I was pretty impressed that they took the time to run over there," he said. "Not only to check on it, but extinguish the fire and make sure the occupants got out. It was a job well done."

Stephan says she and her husband built their home 13 years ago and she credits the small amount of damage left behind to the quick actions of those workers.

"Our house would be gone or significant damage," she said. "If they had not seen it, the fire clearly would have been a lot worse."

No one from the construction crew was available to speak for this story, but Stephan says she is working on some kind of thank you gift for them.

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