DALLAS (CBSDFW.COM) – On Thursday morning, Serapio Pina, 94, looked over what’s left of the house in Lower Greenville he’s called home for 45 years.
During Wednesday afternoon’s storms, lightning struck the tree right in front and then his house.
Speaking through an interpreter, Pina said he was home at the time. “He was sitting in the front room on his couch watching tv and he just heard the loud noise.”
Neighbors including Bill Maddox heard it, too. “There was a huge bang and you could tell it was a huge lightning strike over here.”
About ten minutes later, neighbors realized Pina’s house was going up in flames.
Several people ran over to rescue him.
At first, Pina didn’t open his door and Maddox and others said he had no idea his house was on fire.
“He got a little teary-eyed when he got over here and appreciated how much damage was taking place.”
Inside, there is damage everywhere you look.
His house is a total loss, but he has insurance.
Pina is now staying with relatives until they figure out their next step.
He said he is grateful neighbors were able to retrieve his family photos and medications.
The interpreter said, “He said he feels really, really good because he didn’t think so many people would be helping him out.”
Pina said his house provided him with so much comfort over the years.
Neighbors are now trying to provide some comfort of their own.
They started raising money for him and by Thursday evening, they had come very close to meeting their goal of $5,000.
Maddox was unaware of the fundraising effort but said it is just one way in which neighbors tried to help.
“That was a very nice aspect of yesterday: all of the outpouring of people coming and saying he could stay at this house, he could stay at that house, he could stay in the home over there. People really came out and showed their community spirit.”