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Lightning Sparks Tree Fire

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CORVALLIS, Ore. — Residents at an assisted living facility in Corvallis woke up to the sound of lightning striking a tree, then catching fire early Friday morning.

“I was very asleep,” said resident Myles Myers. “And then I woke up to what I thought was a grenade going off outside my window.”

Myers woke up around 2:30 Friday morning, as did many of his neighbors at Corvallis Caring Place, to an unfamiliar sound. The tree outside of his window had caught fire. At first, the 20-year-old was not able to see the flames, but an orange glow filled his room.

“Initially I didn’t see the tree itself until someone came in to help me out.”

Myers was in a car wreck two months ago, broke his back, and is temporarily in a wheelchair.

“I am the youngest here by about 60 years,” he said with a smile. “Everyone here is really great.”

Myers is staying at the assisted living facility for a few months until he is done with rehabilitation.

“As soon as I woke up and when I realized the severity of the situation, my instinct urge was to just jump out of bed and start running,” he said. “But that’s not something I can do. So it kind of made the situation more alarming.”

He says he felt a sense of panic: not knowing what was going on, and not being able to get out of the building immediately.

“I didn’t know if the building was on fire or if the tree right outside my window was on fire,” he said. “All I knew was that there were some big flames outside my window.”

He and other residents made it out safely – but were still unsure about what was going on.

“I didn’t know until later when the fire department showed up and told us it was lightning.”

Myers says it took firefighters about 5-10 minutes to put out the blaze.

“I’m surprised the tree is still there,” he said. “But about halfway up it’s pretty charred and gone.”

The fire did not spread and nobody was injured. But for some – the lightning strike will be a memory to hold on to for a long time.

“There was some pretty exciting fear going on at the time,” Myers said. “I think that’s the quickest I’ve gotten out of bed and into my wheelchair to date.”

 

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