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Olathe family grateful for supportive community after home gets struck by lightning, catches fire

OLATHE, Kan. -- At least three homes were damaged by lightning and fire in Johnson County overnight. and one Olathe family says their community stepped up to help them when they needed it most.

“It was extremely loud,” 13-year-old Jaya Johnson said about when moment lightning struck their house.

“My daughter noticed some smoke in my bathroom, and we saw it coming through the bathroom exhaust fan," homeowner Christie Winans said. "So at that point I realized we had been hit by lightning, and we needed to get out."

It was smoke, not the storm, that caused the Olathe family concern shortly after midnight.

Winans called for help as soon as they realized that lightning hit their home near 165th and Ridgeview.

“We saw the fire on the little tip of the roof,” Winans said. “It just got bigger and bigger, and we were trying not to look at it because there wasn't anything we could do. But we could see it in the reflection of the windows across the street. I just called my dad and was like, 'my house is on fire.'"

On Tuesday, friends and family spent the afternoon helping Winans and her daughter sift through the damage and salvage what they could.

“It`s very heartwarming. Just before I even woke up this morning, I was getting messages because people had seen the news and were like, 'Is that your house on the news? Did you get struck by lightning? Are you guys OK?'” Winans said. “Just the outpouring of support from the neighborhood community, our volleyball community, our work community, everybody we know has been reaching out all day to see if we need anything.”

“You can tell they really care about you because this is a really sad thing that happened, and they care enough to come help you,” Jaya said.

This house was built not even two years ago and had all new furniture, but Winans and her daughter are just thankful no one was hurt.

“That`s the most important thing is we all got out safe and sound,” Winans said. “Everything inside can be replaced. We were able to get our most precious valuables out today, like baby books, photographs, all that stuff, so anything that`s irreplaceable has been saved. So everything else can be replaced.”

FOX4's meteorologists say lightning is random. Even soil type can have an impact. At one point there were more than 2,000 lightning strikes in the region. Lightning rods are one option for your home. They're relatively inexpensive compared to the cost of the damage if your home does get hit.