‘It sounded like a bomb’: Abilene man’s mesquite tree struck by lightning

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ABILENE, Texas (KTAB/KRBC) – As strong storms passed through with thunder and gusting winds, one bolt of lightning struck right in the middle of Abilene and made a direct hit. 

Norm French says he was making his morning coffee when he heard what he thought was an explosion. 

“I’ve never heard thunder explode like that, it sounded like a bomb,” says French.  

When he walked outside, he noticed his old mesquite tree looked a little different. 

“It just exploded that thing. It didn’t just hit it, it tore it apart,” French says. 

The lightning strike sent bark scattering on his lawn and even pieces of it on his roof, but French says he understands it could’ve been worse.

“I was glad it didn’t hit the house. I think maybe that tree acted as a lightning rod and kept it from hitting the house,” he says. 

French has been in the Key City since 1966 when he was stationed at Dyess Air Force Base, and moved into the house in the 70s, where the tree was already rooted.  

“Nobody’s hurt, no damage done to the house,” French says. “If it had hit the house, it probably would’ve burned, so I guess we’re lucky, you know.” 

French plans to call a tree service to help with the cleanup, as he says this is not a job for an 85-year-old man.

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