Lightning striking a utility pole caused a chain reaction of embers that burned a shed in Paradise Hills Tuesday, according to San Diego Fire-Rescue officials.
At about 1:40 p.m., resident Victor Murillo saw black smoke and red hot flames reaching into the sky behind his house near Rancho Drive and Patomac Street.
"When I saw it in the back, the first thing I thought was where are the dogs at," said Murillo.
His pets were tethered to an equipment shed that had caught fire. However, they were able to safely break free and run next door.
Fire officials said lightning during a severe thunderstorm struck a nearby utility pole, severing a line which dropped on the shed. The live wire ignited the structure.
"I thought it was pretty crazy, you know. We don't see that that often," Murillo told NBC 7.
The fire destroyed the shed, two saddles tools and stored tables. Murillo said he is counting his blessings the fire didn't reach the family's newly remodeled kitchen.
By most weather statistical accounts, San Diego ranks in the top five cities with the fewest thunderstorms a year — an average of less than six. So Tuesday's storm came as a surprise, with 300 lightning strikes recorded before 3 p.m.