St. Martin resident: Flames climb after lightning strikes gas line

St. Martin resident: Flames climb after lightning strikes gas line

BILOXI, MS (WLOX) - Severe weather caused some tense moments for a Jackson County neighborhood as residents were forced to evacuate after a lightning strike. The Fort Bayou Volunteer Fire Department responded to Mallory Drive in St. Martin shortly after 1 p.m. Monday.

Officials said they believe lightning struck a tree and the force traveled to the ground, causing a gas line to rupture. Officials said that ignited a fuel fire.

"I was standing at the back door of the house, and I just so happen to see it come down and hit," said Steve McKinney, resident.

McKinney then told his wife what he saw.

"She was in the shower and I said, 'I just saw lightning hit about 100 feet from our house.' I said, 'It hit something, but I don't know what,'" McKinney said.

Fire officials said gas company crews dug up a portion of the line, installed a valve and were able to stop the flow of gas. Emergency responders said because of the danger, they evacuated the immediate area as well as the surrounding neighborhood.

"We walked out the front and there's flames shooting out of the ground over here across the street. It was just a couple of minutes later that the firemen and everybody started showing up telling us to evacuate," said McKinney. "It was crazy. It was so loud it almost hurt your ears."

Jackson County utility officials said there was also some minor damage to the water line. No one was injured.

McKinney said he has never seen anything like it.

"It was pretty wild. We were worried the tree was going to catch on fire, because the flames were going up about eight or 10 feet. It was kind of like one of these oil fires you see on movies. Kind of like that."

Copyright 2015 WLOX. All rights reserved.