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Penticton  

Aftermath of lightning strike

A Cawston couple are still finding it hard to believe the guest house attached to their garage was hit by lightning on Tuesday.

The strike which caused a fire, is the first they've ever experienced and, they say, hopefully the last.

"It's never happened before, and I hope it never happens again. The saying is lightning never strikes the same place twice. Touch wood," said homeowner Tom Owen.

Owen, who is 80, said the incident happened around 2:30 p.m. 

He was home alone working outside one of the buildings at his Ritchie Drive home when the thunder and lightning came all at once.

He saw a bright light and the thunder was like a cannon going off. The rain came next, and he gathered up his tools to put them inside.

When he looked at the guest house he saw smoke pouring out the corner where the lightning had hit.

He fought the flames with two garden hoses, until Keremeos firefighters arrived. The RCMP also attended.

On Wednesday, Owen said he was lucky he was home at the time, otherwise the fire could have spread to the entire garage, where he has tools, pictures and antique cars.

As it was, all of the furniture and other items in the guest house were destroyed.

They spent most of the day after the blaze dealing with insurance and answering questions. Concerned neighbours also dropped by to offer assistance, said Tom's wife Arla Owen.

The lightning also moved in mysterious ways, according to Owen.

Not only did it cause the fire. The couple's landline and one TV  stopped working after the strike.

"As well as causing problems in the house, it broke apart a transformer for radio in the garage, and my irrigation system is also knocked out," he said. "I know there's more damage. I just haven't found it yet."

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