The lightning felt so close we thought the house may have been hit. But there was no smell of burning, and the phone was still working, in fact it was ringing. Our worst nightmare was confirmed—a neighbour was calling to tell us our hayshed was alight. Our shed full of large clover hay rolls.
The lightning had struck an old pine tree, causing it to explode, sending branches far and wide, but worse, the lightning had raced across the ground in three directions. One lit a small grass fire, another went toward our neighbour’s shed leaving a mark on the wall, and the third travelled about 100 metres to the end of our hayshed, igniting the end bales.
We had that sinking feeling that it would be very hard to extinguish, and we were right! The fire truck seemed to take ages to arrive, having gone to another lane with a similar name. Fences needed to be cut, and everything seemed to be in slow motion, except the fire which raced up the side of the stack, and into the gap between the hay and shed roof. This acted as a wind tunnel that sucked the flames through, and spread the fire rapidly. We could only stand by and watch helplessly. The bales had to be dragged out and saturated with water and detergent to extinguish them, which sadly rendered them useless for cattle feed.
Next morning as we surveyed the sodden hay and twisted metal of the shed it gave me a small inkling of how people must have felt after bush fires ravaged their houses and property. I wondered how they coped with so much loss, and mess to clean up. Ours was insured, but losing your home and possessions must be soul destroying, even if it is insured.
Strange how something happening ‘out of the blue’ can cause so much damage!