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Lightning strike hit my shop while I was working. Scary.

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Forum topic by Dan posted 07-29-2011 06:24 PM 2151 views 0 times favorited 29 replies Add to Favorites Watch
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Dan

3543 posts in 1634 days


07-29-2011 06:24 PM

The other night I was out working in my shop as there was a storm brewing outside. The storm was nothing huge just your avg lightning and thunder storm. I actually enjoyed the storm because it lowered the temp in my shop which has been like 90 deg the past couple weeks. I didn’t think much of the storm and kept working away.

All of a sudden there was a very bright flash of light and a sound as if someone set up a firecracker right in my shop. I saw what looked like sparks shoot out from under my garage door. My heart stopped for a sec because I have never experienced a lightning strike first hand before. I just stood there frozen and took a min to take in what had just happened. I knew lightning had hit my shop but I didn’t know where. I kept watching the ceiling waiting for it to burst into flames or something. I didn’t loose any power so that made me feel a bit better. It was dark and raining so I couldn’t really look around outside to see if there was any damage. I just put my stuff away and called it a night.

The next morning I went out to check on the shop and I found the strike point. The lightning hit the concrete slab directly in front of my garage door. The strike missed my garage by two or three inches. I could tell where it hit because there was a patch of the concrete slab that was white/light grey in color and the top stones on the slab were all glassed over and smooth like. That explains the light/sparks I saw coming from under my garage door which was closed at the time.

When the lightning hit I was standing at my work bench which is maybe 12 feet from the spot the bolt hit. It all happened so fast but that feeling of fear I felt will be stuck with me forever. I am very lucky it didn’t actually hit the building as it could have caused some real damage to both myself and my shop.

Its doubtful this will happen again but I don’t think I will be working out in my shop anymore during storms. And if I do I will make sure I am not running any of my power tools.

-- Dan - "Collector of Hand Planes"


29 replies so far

View DaddyZ's profile

DaddyZ

2432 posts in 1794 days


#1 posted 07-29-2011 06:28 PM

Glad youre OK, Lightning is a wonderous element !!!

-- Pat - Worker of Wood, Collector of Tools, Father of one

View Will Stokes's profile

Will Stokes

264 posts in 2108 days


#2 posted 07-29-2011 06:33 PM

Yikes! We sure needed that rain though.

View wasmithee's profile

wasmithee

55 posts in 1446 days


#3 posted 07-29-2011 06:50 PM

Hopefully your shop is equipped with a lightning rod. Odd that it struck the ground and not your shop.

Glad to hear that you are OK.

View Bertha's profile

Bertha

12951 posts in 1446 days


#4 posted 07-29-2011 06:53 PM

Dude. Scary.

-- My dad and I built a 65 chev pick up.I killed trannys in that thing for some reason-Hog

View Rick  Dennington's profile

Rick Dennington

3613 posts in 1948 days


#5 posted 07-29-2011 06:54 PM

That was a seriously close call. That lightening is nasty stuff. I was out fishing a tournament one time, and lightening struck my rod, and blew off about 15” of the rod. I threw that thing down like a hot tater…....lol. I should of known better than to have a rod sticking up in the air with lightening all around….it’s a wonder it didn’t blow me out of the boat, or worse…...But my mind was on the money, and the fish I needed to catch…..I learned my lesson on that trip. You see lightening dancing all around….head for shelter or the shore.
Glad you came away unscathed, and escaped the strike…...be careful out there…

-- " I started with nothing, and I've still got most of it left".......

View Dan's profile

Dan

3543 posts in 1634 days


#6 posted 07-29-2011 07:09 PM

I don’t have a lightning rod on my shop or even on my house for that matter. I never even thought of the idea of having one. I did find it very strange that it hit where it did but I have no doubt that thats where it hit. The discoloring and glass like feeling of the concrete was just not there before. I guess it shows it can hit anywhere.

-- Dan - "Collector of Hand Planes"

View crank49's profile

crank49

3524 posts in 1724 days


#7 posted 07-29-2011 07:25 PM

You sure that wasn’t a “Phaser hit” or a “Disrupter blast”?

-- Michael :-{| “If you tell a big enough lie and tell it frequently enough, it will be believed.” ― A H

View Bertha's profile

Bertha

12951 posts in 1446 days


#8 posted 07-29-2011 07:48 PM

It was going for you, Dan. I might consider a rod;)

-- My dad and I built a 65 chev pick up.I killed trannys in that thing for some reason-Hog

View Rick  Dennington's profile

Rick Dennington

3613 posts in 1948 days


#9 posted 07-29-2011 08:04 PM

Dan,

That’s kind of strange that you don’t have a lightening rod on your house. All houses built are supposed to have one installed at the time of construction. All the houses I ever owned had them, and when I built my shop I have now the contractor put one in the ground about 6-8’ deep. I thought that was in the building code? My house I have now has one…...strange..!!

-- " I started with nothing, and I've still got most of it left".......

View WayneC's profile

WayneC

12302 posts in 2851 days


#10 posted 07-30-2011 04:24 AM

That is pretty wild.

-- We must guard our enthusiasm as we would our life - James Krenov

View TopamaxSurvivor's profile

TopamaxSurvivor

15089 posts in 2429 days


#11 posted 07-30-2011 04:57 AM

My wife claims to have been struck by lighning when she was a kid about 10. I think it was just very very close!! She was outdoors on a play field. Glad you are OK!

-- "some old things are lovely, warm still with life ... of the forgotten men who made them." - D.H. Lawrence

View Don W's profile

Don W

15578 posts in 1321 days


#12 posted 07-30-2011 05:05 AM

I was doing some plumbing in my house when a thunderstorm came up. Like you Dan, I didn’t give it a second thought; after all I was in the basement. Next thing I knew I was set back a couple of steps. Copper pipe conducts electricity pretty well, and so do I. It obviously wasn’t a direct hit, (lucky me) but it was enough that the project was on hold until the storm passed.

-- Master hand plane hoarder. - http://timetestedtools.com

View chrisstef's profile

chrisstef

11480 posts in 1760 days


#13 posted 07-30-2011 04:32 PM

Scary for sure.

“Been struck by lightning fif-fif-fif”
“Five times, wow that …”
“Fifty Five tttiiimmess … in in in the head”
(name that movie)

-- "there aren’t many hand tools as awe-inspiring as the #8 jointer. I mean, it just reeks of cast iron heft and hubris" - Smitty

View HorizontalMike's profile

HorizontalMike

6968 posts in 1667 days


#14 posted 07-30-2011 05:35 PM

Lightning rods worked great BEFORE the advent of modern day electronics. Not so well now that all our homes and shops are so heavily wired. I, personally would think twice before hastily installing a lightning rod system. You could actually be making the situation worse by attracting lightning strikes (at the rod) in your area. After much reading I decided against lightning rods on my observatory and house. And this was AFTER a nearby strike took out my observatory’s electronics (the hit/spike came in on the telephone line). FWIW, I even considered a Faraday cage, very expensive and would still probably not be enough to protect my electronics from a direct hit.

Insurance, high quality surge protection, proper grounding (ONE not multiple), and best practices of unplugging unused devices ended up being the most efficient and effective protection for me.

Your mileage may vary… This topic is a can of worms and I am sure the opinions will start flying shortly.

-- HorizontalMike -- "Woodpeckers understand..."

View Dan's profile

Dan

3543 posts in 1634 days


#15 posted 07-30-2011 05:49 PM

Rick- My home was built after the year 2000 so its rather new construction and it all passed code. I can assure you there is no lightning rod so it must not be required by code where I live.

Mike- I am not super concerned with the electronic tools because I do have good insurance and they are all replaceable. I guess my biggest fear would be fire. I think its rare for lightning to start a fire but I have a lot that is not replaceable thats in my shop thats non electric

-- Dan - "Collector of Hand Planes"

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