Huntsville Firefighter’s house catches fire after apparent lightning strike

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HAZEL GREEN, Ala. (WHNT) - Normally he's the one fighting fires, but one man came home last night to find it was his own home up in flames. Chris Franklin works for the Huntsville Fire Department. He was with his wife Amy and two children at a relative's house, when they got the phone call no one wants to get.

Just after 7:00 pm Saturday, neighbors say they heard the loudest thunder they've ever heard, and shortly after, saw smoke rising from the Franklin's home on Mandy Drive. A next door neighbor then called 911.

The insurance company will have to make the final determination, but witnesses strongly believe lightning was the culprit.

Chris's neighbor across the street shot video on his cell phone, shortly after the Hazel Green, Bobo and Meridianville Fire Departments responded. Chris is a firefighter himself and says he was impressed with their work.

Fire crews broke open the windows to spray down the inside of the house. They also ripped open the garage doors to try to salvage some of Franklin's lawn care equipment.

Despite the hard work of firefighters, though the exterior may not show it, he says almost everything inside is a total loss.

Franklin says, by the grace of God, that's not the end of the story. His congregation at Plain View Church of Christ has already stepped up in a big way with clothing and monetary donations.

Chris says he and his wife had just sold that house a couple of days ago. Luckily, they had insurance so they're waiting to hear from their agency to learn what comes next.

He says they've gotten so much support from their church family, they don't plan on setting up a GoFundMe account.