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Lightning strike startles Ruscombmanor couple, damages radio equipment

By Ryan Hughes, Reporter, RHughes@wfmz.com
Published On: Aug 22 2014 04:34:24 PM CDT
Updated On: Aug 22 2014 05:03:26 PM CDT

It was too close for comfort for a Berks County couple after lightning struck just feet from where they were sitting.

RUSCOMBMANOR TWP., Pa. -

It was too close for comfort for a husband and wife after lightning struck just feet from where they were sitting.

"Just out of the blue... kaboom and a big flash," said Todd Hummel, who thought a bomb went off in his backyard.

The bolt of lightning hit a large tree and tore a trough down its side stretching 40 to 50 feet.

"It was so loud, and sparks actually flew out of the radio that was next to the sofa," said Wendy Hummel, who could not believe what happened.

Todd and Wendy were sitting on their couch watching TV inside their Ruscombmanor Township, Berks County, home around 8 p.m. Thursday when they jumped out of their skin.

Their nerves were still rattled Friday after seeing the destruction. The strike was so strong, dagger-like chunks of wood were shot across the lawn and some ended up high in the trees.

"I'm glad I wasn't standing here or walking the dog or my wife was outside or any of my animals were injured," said Todd Hummel.

The tree sits only 25 feet from where they were sitting. They were thankful the lightning hit on the side of the tree closest to the woods and away from their house.

"Judging by the pieces in the trees that could have easily went that way and through the window," said Wendy Hummel.

Todd's radio equipment took the brunt of the blast. He's the president of the Mud Duck CB Radio Club. He said the lightning followed the antenna cable that was bolted to the tree and went into his house and into his radio shop, which destroyed about $1,000 worth of equipment.

"Things I had for years and put lots of money into and time," said Todd Hummel.

The couple said minutes after the strike the rain started and then thunder. Now, they hope lightning doesn't strike the same place twice.

"Luckily, everyone is OK. It could have been worse," said Wendy Hummel.