A fast-moving thunderstorm, had residents in a Folsom neighborhood shaken Tuesday afternoon when a redwood tree that was once 80-feet tall was reduced to half its size after exploding from a lightning strike that sent debris scattered across five different properties.
Folsom resident Celeste Romo was one of the first to take to social media after the experience.
“Did you hear that huge bang in Lexington Hills during the storm,” Romo asked on the communities “Folsom Chat” Facebook page. “I was outside and it made me scream and run inside.”
After the storm front had passed, Romo ventured back into her backyard. Large shards of wood were reportedly strewn across the area and noticeably, a large redwood tree in her neighbor’s backyard was approximately 30-feet shorter than before.
The incident occurred at approximately 4:30 p.m. Tuesday and prompted a response by the City of Folsom Fire and Police Departments, and later, an arborist from the City of Folsom as well.
The tree was on the property of Folsom’s Shifflet family,” who wasn’t home at the time of the lightning strike. Lisa Shifflett told local media (Sacramento Bee) she wasn’t home at the time of the strike, but noticed alerts on her phone that their home had lost power while she was at work.
Her husband was on his way home at the time and actually pulled over to allow fire personnel to pass, learning moments later they would be arriving at their home. By that time, they had gotten several calls from neighbors letting them know that the tree in their backyard had exploded after a lightning strike.
Upon arrival, first responders reported that large splinters of wood flew as far as five houses away, but no injuries were reported in the rare incident. According residents nearby, the strike reportedly sent power surges under the ground where it charred a fence and even blew nails out of the wood, kicked up soil and tripped area breakers and reportedly burned-out light bulbs in some homes.
Several arborists explained to the residents, what likely occurred to cause the tree to literally explode. An arborist from the city of Folsom has recommended the tree be removed to prevent further property damage or pose any future danger.
“They (arborists) said that the tree, all of the cells of the tree are full of water. When the lightning bolt hits it, it immediately boils that water inside the tree, and then it just explodes,” Shifflett shared. ““I’m really bummed because it was a beautiful, well-established tree, and it was the only shade for my yard.”