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Lightning strike leaves hole where it tore through Maui home

By Christie Wilson

LAST UPDATED: 4:55 p.m. HST, Jul 30, 2013

KAHULUI » Uilani Endo can still smell the odor of charred wood and blown electrical outlets a day after her family's Kahului home was hit by lightning as Tropical Depression Flossie raged across Central Maui early Monday night.

Endo had gone to look out a window in a second-floor bedroom of the Kipapa Place home after several bright flashes indicated the thunderstorm was approaching. She said it wasn't raining but when she saw the lightning, she told her daughter Kanoe, 21, to come out of the bathroom.

Moments after her daughter left the bathroom, as Endo was glancing at the bathroom mirror, "the whole room turned white," she said.

"It was like a big boom, like a big blowout. All the pictures on my window sill fell off and the whole house shook. I was in shock. I screamed and grabbed my daughter and said, 'Let's get the hell out of here.'"

It wasn't until Endo went outside to put her dogs into a shelter that she saw pieces of asphalt shingles and wood littering the back yard.

"That's when I realized I had a hole in my house," she said.

Lightning tore through the back eave of her roof and an upstairs window displayed a large black burn mark where it had entered the bathroom. The strike nearly blew the window out of its frame and sent large chunks of drywall into the bathtub.

Endo said it also short-circuited electrical sockets throughout the house, damaging three televisions and a computer.

Neighbors told her they saw two lightning strikes, and another said the bolt appeared to ricochet off a satellite TV dish next door.

Tuesday afternoon, in between calls to electricians, Endo said she isn't sure what exactly happened but is thankful her family is safe.

In Haiku, a 47-year-old Maui man is recovering at home after suffering an indirect lightning strike via his home’s plumbing.

Mark Minobe, a heavy equipment operator for Hawaiian Commercial & Sugar Co., was rinsing a bowl in the kitchen sink at his West Kuiaha Road home a little after 6 p.m. Monday when his hands were shocked by blue currents shooting out from the faucet, according to his wife, Joslyn. He fell to his knees, then walked to the other room to tell his wife what had happened and fell to his knees again, she said.

Joslyn Minobe said that “at exactly the same time” her husband was getting shocked at the sink there was “an extremely loud boom.”

She checked her husband’s pulse and found it was rapid, and then called 911 for an ambulance. Minobe was checked out at Maui Memorial Medical Center in Wailuku and released. He did not suffer any burns on his hands and seems to be no worse for the experience, except for the embarrassment from all the media attention, said Josyln Minobe.

“He just wants to crawl under the carpet,” she said.


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