‘Explosion’ in O’Fallon was lightning strike
By: Mary Ann OToole Holley
The frightening “kaboom” heard early Tuesday morning (Jan. 22) was a lightning strike, according to O’Fallon Police spokesperson Diana Damke.
Several calls came into Mid Rivers Newsmagazine asking about the tremendous explosion heard about 7:30 a.m. that day. After many calls to various agencies, the house-shaking sound was determined to be Nature clearing her throat.
“I thought it was an explosion as well,” Damke said. “I was at home at the time when I heard it. I listened for sirens, and when I didn’t hear any police response, I knew it was thunder, so I took my dog and went to the basement.”
Damke said with the worsening weather patterns, one cannot just assume the bad weather will pass.
“Any time there is threatening weather, it’s a good idea to get to a safe place, away from windows, even if it’s in a basement storage area,” Damke said. “That was a huge storm, and people shouldn’t take any chances.”
Earlier that morning, about 1:30 a.m., O’Fallon Firefighters were called to a two-alarm blaze in the city believed to be started by another lightning strike. Firefighters spent nearly six hours trying to extinguish the fire. A firefighter was still at the scene 16 hours later dousing “hotspots.”
Two firefighters were injured: one who was overcome by heat and another who was hit by falling debris.
Residents of the home were on vacation at the time. The home was a total loss, said O’Fallon Public Information Officer Scott Avery.