Sometimes, the weather stinks.
A South Florida homeowner suffered a rare weather-related mishap Sunday, Aug. 4. Scattered afternoon thunderstorms had bubbled up near the Port Charlotte home, but nothing seemed too out of the ordinary. Then came a flash of light and a deafening crack, and a toilet lay in ruin.
"We had no idea what we were getting ourselves into," said Jordan Hagadorn. He owns A-1 Affordable Plumbing, the company that responded to the wrecked restroom in the Gulf Cove neighborhood.
Hagadorn says that lightning struck the yard outside the Gulf Cove home, achieving "perfect ignition inside the sewer."
"It must have exploded the methane inside," Hagadorn said. "The homeowner was home at the time. There was a loud bang when the lightning struck."
The charge traveled through the home, damaging electrical outlets and destroying wiring. The bathroom blast, however, was enough to shatter the toilet and even take out windows. There was even some burning reported. Smoke was also seen outside originating from the septic tank. The storm briefly dumped heavy rain, which extinguished flames.
"It's almost like winning the lottery," explained Hagadorn regarding the odds of such an occurrence.
"Me personally? I've never heard of that happening," said Andrew McKauthan, a meteorologist at the National Weather Service in the Tampa Bay area.
Porcelain pelted the walls, even denting/scratching the drywall.
"Thirty percent of the pipes in the home need to be replaced," according to Hagadorn. "The lightning blasted a hole in the ground. There's piping on the roof." The photos he posted to Facebook show PVC piping split and splintered.
"I honestly thought the call was a friend messing with me until I showed up," he said.
He was grateful no one was hurt, and he said the incident could have been much worse.
The National Weather Service has recommendations in place for lightning safety, including bathing. So far, they have yet to weigh in on weather-related toilet safety, however.
In the meantime, Hagadorn is approaching the situation with humor, offering his own advice: "no more pooping while it's storming outside."
This article was written by Matthew Cappucci, a reporter for The Washington Post.