CHINOOK - Ed and Arlee Lentz were counting their blessings Tuesday, just before setting out for the Oregon Coast to celebrate their 50th wedding anniversary. The Lentzes were sound asleep early Sunday morning when a huge thunder and lightning storm hit the south Peninsula.
A bolt of lightning hit a 50-foot tree near their Lindstrom Lane home, toppling it and destroying electrical appliances in homes around the strike. Two- and three-foot chunks were still lying in neighbors' yards and driveways Tuesday.
"It brought back memories of my time fighting in Korea," Ed Lentz said. "It damn near lifted us clear out of bed. My wife was in shock. The telephone repair man said he'd never seen anything like it."
Lentz said the blast took out the telephone box on a post on the west side of his house and blew it into about 15 pieces. "It's just hanging by its wires," he said. The blast destroyed the Lentzes' four telephones, three TVs, a DVD player and a VCR. "It blew the outlets right out of the walls in my wife's shop," he said. "They're melted and black and my wife's fax machine is fried. Someone was looking over us because if that lightning had hit our house, we would have been melted too."
Lentz said he had surge protectors installed that saved his two freezers but the blast blew out all the breakers in his house and shop.
Animals were hit hard by the strike, too. Lentz said his dog wouldn't get off the bed until a long time after the lightning strike and a neighbor's horse is still upset.
Another neighbor told them he saw a ball of fire hit the phone transformer and split three ways.
Most of Chinook was without phone service Monday and in some outlying areas service still wasn't restored Tuesday.