Fire victim: 'Thank God for my neighbors'

OCEAN SPRINGS, MS (WLOX) - An Ocean Springs couple feels lucky to be alive, after lighting struck their house during this morning's storms. A neighbor is the one who came to the rescue, averting what could have been a major catastrophe.

As the rain fell on Tuesday morning, Buddy White was watching TV. "I was sitting here watching the news waiting for the final weather forecast and boom! It sounded like a grenade going off in here," White explained. White and his wife were getting ready for work when their home on Middle Street was rocked by a lightning bolt. "Any light fixture that was on blew. It was very frightening all this glass going everywhere," Mrs. White explained.

Even the light switch cover in the bedroom exploded, shooting 20 feet off the wall, flying through two doors before landing here in the dining room. "So I mean it was extremely scary.  I thought that was the worst of it. Thank God my husband thought to look in the attic. because we actually had a fire in the attic," Mrs. White said.  And without phones, the couple couldn't call the fire department. "The next thing I knew I was running through the neighborhood. Thank God for my neighbors. Without their help, it would have been much worse," said White.

Timothy Johnson was the neighbor who came to the rescue, fire extinguisher in hand. "I ran right up to the attic her husband was already up there he came down and then I went up there and just put the fire out. I just thank the Lord that they're all right," said Johnson.

The damage was minimal. Just some charred remnants from the flames. But things could have been much worse.

After the flames were out, and firemen arrived, they discovered the flames were just inches away from a gas leak in the attic. "I didn't know there was a gas leak too going on at the same time. So you know I mean we all could have lost our lives.  But like I said, we're here and I thank God for that," said White, who promises to go out and buy his own fire extinguisher next week.

By the way, 29-year old Timothy Johnson actually had some fire training as a teen, but says this was the first time he had to use it.

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