The Tragedy

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On August 24, 2012, our son, Bennen Teel, was visiting friends at their home. Their home was built in 2011, and was less than a year old. An evening thunderstorm produced lightning that directly struck the home. At the time of the lightning strike, the power to the home was not interrupted. However, the security alarm system sounded and the keypads to the system were not functioning. The control box was located a few inches below the ceiling in the garage and required a stepladder to reach. Home owner Ross and Brennen reached the the garage, approximately 7 to 9 minutes had passed since the lightning strike.


Unbeknownst to anyone in the house, the electrical charge produced by the direct lightning strike had punctured five holes in the CSST (Corrugated Stainless Steel Tubing) causing an arc which ignited the natural gas now leaking from the CSST. When the smoldering attic fire was exposed to oxygen, a back draft occurred causing a massive explosion.


Our son, Brennen, was at the point of explosion and was killed by thermal insult. Ross was in the garage as well, but was not exposed to the direct blast, as a pickup truck parked in the garage shielded him. Despite this, he suffered serious burns to his lower extremities. The house was a total loss and uninhabitable.


Meg and their three children rushed from the bedroom to escape from the fire.  The children were not injured physically but by the horrors of that nightmarrish evening.  Forever.