A Sunday afternoon fire triggered by lightning destroyed a waterfront Tega Cay home once owned by NBA franchise owner George Shinn, officials said.
The violent storm affected most of Fort Mill Township, including a home on Hensley Road in Fort Mill that was crushed by a falling tree. A boy inside the home narrowly missed being injured by the tree. The storm also caused power outages.
"That was a landmark house for Tega Cay," neighbor Linda O'Neal said about the fire-ravaged, three-story stucco house on Lake Wylie, at 7108 Anchorage Lane. Shinn lived there when he owned the Charlotte Hornets.
No one was at home during Sunday's blaze; however, firefighters rescued a cat and hamster from the burning house, Flint Hill Assistant Fire Chief Randy McCurry said.
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Some firefighters received minor burns from the fire but did not seek medical attention, he said.
Additional moisture in the atmosphere led to Sunday's scattered thunderstorms throughout York County, said Andrew Kimball from the National Weather Service. In addition to the tree that fell on the home on Hensley Road, Sunday's downpour caused several trees to fall on power lines in the Fort Mill area.
On Hensley Road, the tree, a large white oak, bisected a manufactured home when it fell. The force of the impact drove a refrigerator through the floor, according to Fort Mill Fire Chief Ken Kerber. No one was injured, Kerber said, but a boy who lived in the home had left a room minutes before the tree crashed through it.
As many as 400 homes and businesses were without power following the storm, according to Duke Energy spokesman Dave Scanzoni. Power had been restored to nearly everyone by midnight Monday, he said. Most storm damage occurred in Mecklenburg County, where power to thousands of customers was disrupted.
More than two inches of rain fell in extreme eastern York County, including Fort Mill.
In Tega Cay, at about 2 p.m. Sunday, O'Neal's husband, David, said he was looking at Lake Wylie from the back window of his home. "I was thinking about going out on the lake because it was really sunny out," he said.
David O'Neal said he turned from the window, then heard a loud bang that startled his dog.
"It was the loudest thing I've ever heard," he said. "When I turned around, I saw remnants of the lightning. I couldn't believe it was lightning because it was so sunny out."
O'Neal said he didn't think anything had happened until a fire truck sped by. Then, he went to his dock, where he saw the fire several houses away from his home.
"The whole top of the roof was just engulfed in flames," O'Neal said. "The flames were just shooting up. It was roaring.
About 40 firefighters from the Tega Cay, Riverview and Flint Hill fire departments battled the blaze, McCurry said.
It was contained within an hour, though they battled hot spots as late as 8:45 p.m. Sunday, Tega Cay Fire Chief Scott Szymanski said. Firefighters were summoned to the home again before dawn Monday when the remnants of the house flared up around 2:30 a.m.
• Fort Mill TImes reporter Jonathan Allen contributed to this story.