Lightning blows out windows of Luling home

The recent thunderstorms have provided some much-needed relief to Louisiana soil, but they can also be dangerous. No one knows that better than the Landeche family, who had lightning strike their large oak tree and travel into their house, where it blew out the front windows, burst the water heater and ruined all of their appliances.

Denise and Bowie Landeche, of Luling, weren’t at home when the lightning struck, and they say that may have saved them from serious injury. Instead, the two were visiting a relative in the hospital when they received a call from their neighbor during a thunderstorm last Friday.

“She told us that she heard this loud noise and went outside…that’s when she saw that our oak tree had been struck,” Denise said.

Bowie’s grandfather, who built the Davis Drive home, actually planted the oak tree decades ago.

“We were already sad about the tree, but when we got home we discovered even more damage,” Denise said.

The first thing the Landeches noticed was that their beautiful oak tree now looked like a peeled banana. The second thing they noticed was that all three of their front windows were blown out and glass littered their yard.

“I was shocked because I didn’t know that lightning striking our tree could cause all of our windows to break,” Denise said. “I mean these windows are very big.”

When Bowie went inside the house, he heard an unfamiliar sound – that of water running through his kitchen and living room.

“What happened was that the lightning struck the tree and then traveled down the root system until it ran into our water pipes,” Denise said. “It then traveled to the water heater and busted it.

“We had water soaking through the carpets and running on the kitchen floor.”

But that wasn’t all – every major appliance in the couple’s home was ruined.

“Our freezer door was open and the ice maker was blown with burn marks all over it,” Denise said. “The washer and dryer both had burn marks as well…it was just surreal.”

Denise said that the insurance adjuster told her that he had never seen lightning cause damage to so many different areas of a home. The cost to repair it all is estimated to be $12,000.

But the family knows they were lucky.

“The good Lord was looking out for us because we happened to be at the hospital,” Denise said. “If I was at home at that time I would have been in the kitchen getting dinner ready and who knows what would have happened. That’s where most of the damage was.”

Neighbors have also been looking after the family. Denise said that right after the lightning struck, one of her neighbors came over to her home in the storm and covered up the windows to prevent rain from coming inside the home.

Another neighbor ran his water to the Landeches and let them use it for several days.

“Everyone has just been great,” Denise said. “When something like this happens you see how wonderful people are.”

Though the whole ordeal is behind her, Denise said it will take a while before she can remain calm during a storm.

“I never would have thought that lightning striking outside your home could do so much,” she said. “Now, when the sky gets dark, I’m gun shy.”


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