SAHUARITA, AZ (Tucson News Now) - A local couple is sorting through the wreckage after their home was struck by lightning. It happened in Sahuarita on Wednesday afternoon near Stronghold Canyon Lane and Campbell Avenue.
One of the homeowners, Carrie Miller, narrowly escaped as the back of the house burst into flames.
"That small innocent hole is where lightning came through the house," Carrie Miller said.
Gaping holes in the ceiling, charred insulation and a floor coated in debris. That is what's left of Carrie Miller and Neal Zalagens' brand-new home. They just moved from Texas two weeks ago.
Miller was at home on Wednesday working in her office around 3 p.m. when she heard a loud boom.
"I felt it in my chest. It was so powerfully strong. My desk is actually right here and it hit right here. So it was just a few feet away," Miller said.
At first she thought lightning hit in the backyard but then she started to smell electrical wires burning, so she grabbed the dog and ran outside as back of the house exploded in flames.
"This gigantic ball of fire and black smoke just boomed and boomed right off the patio," Miller said.
She frantically called 911, realizing her cat, Binx, was still trapped inside. Luckily fire crews were able to get her out. The lightning strike was so powerful it went clear to the front of the house. There are black marks around the vents and electrical outlets.
"It looks like it came through every orifice in the house," Carrie's boyfriend, Neal said.
While the clean-up and rebuilding process will take months, the couple are grateful to have survived and that the family pets made it out safely too.
"If I had been, If I had stayed here with him a little longer or if I hadn't have gone outside – it would have just…him and I would have burned alive," Miller said.
"It's depressing, but I have her, I have my dog and the cat," Zalagens said. "We are thankful to the Green Valley fire department."
Inspectors with the Town of Sahuarita condemned the home. Miller and Zalagens now have to stay in a hotel. They do have insurance but estimate the damage to be well over $100,000.