A resident has his video game controller to thank after his house was struck by lightning

PANSEY, Ala. (WDHN) – A father and son were playing video games when their Houston County home was struck by lightning. Minutes later, he was engulfed in flames.

“There was no thunder, no rain and lightning fell,” Pansey resident Jon Preston Ingalls said. “It looked like it was right next to my window.”

Ingalls then ran to his father and told him about the lightning, but then he saw smoke.

“So every time I ran outside and saw the black smoke,” Ingalls said. “I was like, ‘hey, we just need to get out of here, come on and we just need to leave everything, but get your phone’.”

The 9-1-1 call was then made and when the crews arrived the house was completely engulfed in flames. It took units two hours to bring the blaze under control and on Tuesday afternoon the fire reignited.

Houston County Emergency Management Agency Director Chris Judah said the preliminary cause of the fire appears to have been a lightning strike.

When the lightning struck, Ingalls said he could feel it through his controller. He says that’s why he was able to escape the house unharmed.

“I felt some of it go through the PlayStation controller, but I had these rubber grips on the controller,” “But I think it really saved me in a way,” said John Preston Ingalls , resident.

Officials say the house is a total loss, but luckily neither John Preston nor his father were injured. Unfortunately, Ingalls couldn’t find her black and white cat, Bailey.

“She was in there and I couldn’t catch her,” Ingalls said.

The family affected by this fire are currently living with other family members in the area and are also being cared for by Houston County EMA.

Judah adds that over the July 4 holiday weekend, none of the Houston County Fire Departments received any fireworks-related calls.

Stick with WDHN as we continue to follow this story.

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