During a recent, intense thunderstorm in Beaufort, South Carolina, a Ford F-250 Super Duty was damaged by a lightning strike, causing the entire cab of the truck to catch fire and melt. After the fire was put out, the only remaining parts of the truck were the front fascia, the driver's side front fender, and the bed. Thankfully, no one was injured.
The truck fire was seen by locals, among them was Kristi Hughes Groover, who posted photos of the aftermath on Facebook. According to Hughes Groover, the fire started when lightning struck a tree next to the truck and then made its way to the truck itself. The truck was said to be owned by a local cabinet installer, who was working on the home seen in the photos at the time of the lightning strike. Luckily for everyone, the fire department was close by and was able to put the fire out before it spread to the house.
Normally, you're pretty safe inside of a vehicle during a lightning strike. The metal frame of a car shields its occupants from lightning. According to the National Weather Service: "Most cars are safe from lightning, but it is the metal roof and metal sides that protect you, NOT the rubber tires. Remember, convertibles, motorcycles, bicycles, open-shelled outdoor recreational vehicles, and cars with fiberglass shells offer no protection from lightning. When lightning strikes a vehicle, it goes through the metal frame into the ground. Don't lean on doors during a thunderstorm."
So what happened to the F-250 and why did it catch fire from the lightning strike? The lightning was said to have struck a nearby tree first. So it's possible that lightning wasn't actually what started the fire. If fire, sparks, or even a burning branch from the tree made its way onto or into the truck, that could have been what started the fire.
During a thunderstorm, you should always try and seek shelter as quickly as possible. While this F-250 fire is a bit unnerving, it seems to have been caused by unusual circumstances, rather than just a lightning strike itself. A house or building is still the preferred place of shelter from a thunderstorm. However, if necessary, it's typically considered safe to seek shelter inside of a car, so long as it has a metal roof and its windows are closed.
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