The next time someone on the Canby Now Facebook group asks, “What was that boom?” you may want to not roll your eyes.
On Thursday afternoon, lightning struck a large, 50-year-old sequoia tree on Kraxberger Road near Canby during a brief but fierce thunderstorm, completely obliterating it and sending debris raining over the property.
The Clackamas County Sheriff’s Office reported receiving 911 calls about the incident and dispatched deputies for what officials described as “an unusual welfare check.”
“The 911 caller wanted to make sure everyone at the address was okay,” the CCSO said on Facebook. “Fortunately, no one was injured.”
The incident occurred just before 2 p.m.
Luckily, no one was in the nearby home owned by Louie and Beverly Siri, who were away on a camping trip. They called their daughter, Jolene Neuberger, and asked her to go check on the place in their absence.
She said they feel “incredibly blessed” that no one was injured or at home when the unlikely explosion occurred.
“Shock and disbelief,” Neuberger told the Current. “Thankful for the neighbors and my coworkers who came by to help. We thank God no one was hurt. We are very grateful.”
The tree, a giant sequoia, also known as a redwood sequoia or giant redwood, is one of the world’s largest. It was planted in 1972 along with several others on the property and stood about seven stories tall, Neuberger said.
Curiously, a small dogwood tree and a statue of Saint Francis, both located next to the sequoia, were unharmed in the blast.
Despite being the quintessential stereotype for an extremely unlikely event, lightning strikes are not that uncommon, occurring around 25 million times a year in the U.S. — mainly in the summer.
Lightning kills about 20 people in the United States each year, and hundreds more are severely injured. More lightning information and safety tips can be found on the National Weather Service’s website.
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