Firefighters responding to more lightning calls

- First she heard the noise. Within seconds, Jan Salas spotted her neighbor's home on fire. 

"It sounded like a big boom. A big boom or a big explosion," Salas recalled.  "We came out and we saw the smoke coming out from under the soffits.”

As storms moved in on the Fourth of July, a lightning strike hit a home on Blue Runner Court in east Manatee County. It was so loud, it caught everyone's attention. 

"We were actually sitting at the table and we could see it hitting over in the side by the pond. It was really loud," said Makenzie Leg. 

The lightning strike sparked a fire in the home's attic. Crews put it out within minutes, but it has everyone on alert. 

"It's like every evening we get a pretty rough storm with really bad lightning," Leg continued. 

Deputy Chief William Hall with East Manatee Fire Rescue agreed. 

"They seem to be happening more frequently this year than what we've noticed this far," he said. 

Since May, they've had six reported lightning strikes to homes, two of which have turned into fires. 

"It brings us a lot of business, unfortunately, with Florida being the lightning capital," said Hall. 

There's not a whole lot you can do. 

"It is a little bit scary only because it's not like any of these homes have lightning rods on the top. Now everybody in the neighborhood is thinking is their home going to be next?" said Salas. 

Deputy Chief Hall said common sense, staying indoors during thunderstorms, and knowing when to call for help is your best bet. 

"Don't hesitate to call 911 anytime you think that your home has been struck by lightning, because seconds matter," he added. 

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