Thanks to the quick thinking of a homeowner, lightning that struck a Union farmhouse and ignited a fire in an ell was almost entirely extinguished by the time firefighters arrived Thursday evening, June 9.

“We were inside having dinner when the lightning went kaboom,” said Kerry Jett, who lives on Wottons Mill Road in Union with his wife and mother-in-law.

He looked out the window and saw smoke and flames shooting from the ell of his home, used for storage.

A former fire chief himself, he tended immediately to evacuating his family and pets, stuffed towels beneath the door, and then went outside and dragged the garden hose around the side of the house and began spraying the fire.

Meanwhile, Union firefighters, along with Appleton, Hope, Waldoboro and Warren, and Union Ambulance — many of them home eating dinner themselves — jumped into trucks and responded to the mutual aid call, arriving only minutes after the emergency call was made at approximately 5:15 p.m.

The lightning had blown the window out of the house, and Union firefighters went to work extinguishing the remaining flames and hot spots. The other fire departments remained at the scene, setting hoses to water supplies and directing traffic.

The Jetts’ home has a metal roof, and there is a large willow tree outside the ell. Union Fire Chief Barry Norris believes the lightning hit near the window of the ell. No other lightning hits were reported during the storm in the area.

“Lightning is a mysterious thing,” said Norris, describing how it can travel underground, and across objects. The strong thunderstorm that spread across the Midcoast during the evening laid low clouds over the hills and delivered frequent and vivid bolts of lightning, as well as heavy rainfall.