OSU students displaced after home struck by lightning


STILLWATER, Okla. (KFOR) – A group of six Oklahoma State University students were displaced from their home and forced to find a temporary place to live after lightning struck their roof, causing a fire Saturday.

“I got a call from my buddy who lives next door to us. He said, ‘Y’all’s house got struck by lightning,'” said Kevin Kaiser.

Five of the roommates were having an amazing day at Skiatook Lake, more than an hour away from their home.

About 10 minutes from arriving back home on South West Street in Stillwater, their phones blew up with texts and calls that their house was on fire. 

Stillwater Fire Department Chief Terry Essary said they were alerted of the fire about 9:40 p.m. Saturday night.

“The lightning was bad,” he said. “It was widespread throughout what felt like this entire part of the county.”

After striking the roof, the ensuing fire consumed the attic.

It took two hours for firefighters to handle. 

The students that lived on the second floor lost a TV, PlayStation, mattresses, and textbooks.

“I was pretty upset,” said Kevin Kaiser. “I was just in disbelief really.” 

Chas Wright said only his clothing in the closet made it, though heavily drenched in smoke odor.

“Just about everything else in the bedroom was soaked, water damaged, smells terrible, covered in insulation and destroyed,” he explained.

No one was hurt in the fire, as nobody was home.

A therapy dog in the home was safely evacuated.

Five of six roommates temporarily moved to a house just a few blocks down the street that their landlord owned.

They all recognize how much worse matters could have been.

“I could have lost everything,” Kaiser said. “I still have my clothes, hopefully a laptop [which got wet]. I mean, it definitely could have been a whole lot worse. We have this place that our landlord set us up with.”

“It’s hard to make sense of it and the odds are so astronomical,” Wright said. “What are the odds? I can’t believe this happened. It’s very inconvenient. We’re just trying to get through it, salvage what we can, and try to get settled so we can just focus on the school year.”

The landlord hopes to get all the residents back in the house in a month or two after extensive repairs.

The roommates have set up a GoFundMe to help with their costs.

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