SCOTTSDALE, AZ — Peter Marshall was in surgery when he got word that the house he owns and rents out had been struck by lightning and caught fire on Friday afternoon.
He and wife are nurses who have owned the home near 64th Street and Indian School Road in South Scottsdale for more than 25 years.
"I was just a kid when we bought this house…man it means a lot to me and it's heartbreaking to see it like this," Marshall told ABC15.
Quite an active evening - over 30,000 lightning flashes were measured across central Arizona from 6AM Thu to 12AM Fri. The active weather period continues through Saturday. #azwx pic.twitter.com/oUiM3uh931— NWS Phoenix (@NWSPhoenix) July 23, 2021
For the past three years, Marshall has rented it out to an 83-year-old man named Paul who he says he thinks of as a father figure.
He says Paul was on the couch when the lightning hit the roof.
"He thought a plane had crashed into the house and it knocked him off of the couch," Marshall said.
Neighbors Madison Cosenza and her mom Beth Veith live two doors down and were in their back yard when they say they saw a flash of light hit a neighbor's house.
"All of a sudden I heard this giant boom and it was so loud it literally rattled the table," Cosenza said. "It rattled the ground. My ears were ringing. It was so crazy."
They weren't immediately sure which house was hit, but once they saw smoke they say their family jumped into action.
"We were just banging on everyone's door. My stepdad was the one who knocked on the door of the house that had been struck," Cosenza said.
The man in the house was shaken up but other than a bloody lip, he made it out OK.
And while it looks fine on the outside, the inside of the home is destroyed.
"There is almost no fire damage inside the house but because there was so much fire in the attic, all of the water that was used to put the fire out collapsed the ceiling," Marshall said
He said he went back inside the house to salvage some of Paul's medications and valuables but most of it is too far gone.
For now, he is staying in a hotel while Marshall makes contact with his family.