AUGUSTA, Ga. (WFXG) - One Augusta family is speaking out after a lightning strike caused their home to catch fire.

It was Matthew Gay’s last day of family vacation when he received the call no one wants to get.

“I got a call from my neighbor and he said, 'Matt your house is on fire,'" Gay recalls. "I said, oh no, that’s my exact words. I said, please go meet the fire department, tell them there’s no one inside, no pets inside, do what they gotta do to put it out.”

Over the weekend, lightning struck his chimney at his home on Tobacco Road, causing it to explode. Ultimately, resulting in a fire the devastated Gay’s family home of 40 years.

Now, he’s sounding the alarm about the dangers of lightning.

“You go numb to start with because you’ve worked all of your life, we’ve lived in this house for 40 years since we got married, so you go numb.”

Had they been home Saturday night, it would’ve been a much different story.

“That time of night, we’d have been watching tv, I’d have been sitting in the chair, right where the lightning struck," Gay says. "My wife would’ve been sitting across the way. I can’t imagine from the noise from the electrical shocks we could’ve obtained, plus getting out from the fire could it have impaired us where we couldn’t have got, I don’t know?”

As Gay stands in what’s left of his living room, he wants the public to know it can happen to you.

“I’ve done that, I’ve been outside working and it’s lightning and didn’t really take heed. But, you can just see the devastation it can cause. The amount of force that’s in a lightning strike, the human body doesn’t stand a chance against a lightning strike.”

In the meantime, the family has a camper to stay in, until their home can be repaired.

“We were very fortunate, we were not home. Good Lord had a plan in that, I believe that 100%, so it’s ok this is material things.”

The family also runs Gay’s Christmas Tree Farm from this address, but tell us the fire should not have any impact on business.

Meanwhile, they are waiting on the insurance adjuster to determine the next steps, whether that’s repairs or a full demolition and rebuild.

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