Man tells of lightning striking home in Thursday storms

Mandarin residents worry about flooding

JACKSONVILLE, Fla. – Tim Thacker described the excited phone call he received from his family Thursday night after his house was struck by lightning.

"My oldest son said he saw a blue flash of light and then they started smelling smoke, and that's when they came outside," Thacker said. "And when they came outside, the smoke was coming from the top of the roof."

Thacker said he saw seven fire trucks when he pulled up to his home, and his roof sustained extensive damage.

"At that point, I wasn't really worried about anyone being hurt until I saw the firefighters going in," Thacker said. "They were all in there. (The Jacksonville Fire and Rescue Department) was awesome to come in. They got in there really fast and they just did an incredible job."

The Thacker family wasn't alone in experiencing rough weather. Heavy rains swamped some sections of Mandarin, including San Jose Boulevard and Julington Creek Road, a low-lying stretch just north of the bridge. Traffic was backed up toward the bridge.

Residents have been concerned about flooding for years.

"It gets into peoples' cars sometimes," Ketaya Vega said. "Also, immediately after that, when you see flood waters you're guaranteed that these lights will go out. The power is going to go out right here."

Officials say one of the main causes is problems with the drainage system. Some city leaders say it's a concern they want the public works department to address soon.

"When there is growth inside of the ditches, the water does not flow," councilman Matt Schellenberg said. "They need to get on this and make it a priority, and that is a concern. I have focused that, the main focus of the government is public safety and public works, and this is crucial."

With more heavy rain expected in the forecast this weekend, residents hope something will be done soon.

"Before it becomes a, 'We should have done this,' or 'If only this were done, that wouldn't have happened,'" Vega said.

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