Doorbell camera captures falling tree during storm

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– “Sounded like a bomb went off.  Lights flickered, things fell off the wall,” said southeast Austin homeowner Scott Sternhagen. In his neighbor’s doorbell video, you can hear the explosive sound of lightning striking his more-than-30-year-old Arizona Ash.  

“Apparently lightning hit the tree and split it in half.  And when it split it, it fell on top of my house and then fell towards my neighbor’s house,” Sternhagen said.

Thankfully nobody was hurt at either house.

“They’re ok.  There’s a lot of damage to their property also,” said Sternhagen.  

“There’s like a big hole on the side of the living room and there’s like a big old tree branch like this in there,” said Scott’s neighbor Antonio Vazquez.

The lightning caused more problems than just downed trees. A little after 1 Thursday morning on Golden Bear in Lakeway, firefighters started working a house fire. Due to the stormy weather, crews had to stay on the ground.

“We couldn’t use our aerial device, the ladder truck that goes in the air because all of the lighting,” said Lake Travis Fire Rescue Battalion Chief Mike Prather.  

Prather says no one was injured in the fire.  He says investigators believe lightning is responsible. “Due to the fact that the fire was mainly in the attic, there is no charring on the walls,” Prather said.  “We had a large complex of thunderstorms move through our area.  Anybody that’s lived in the Austin Travis County area for any time knows that lighting strikes to homes are pretty prevalent.  So that’s where we’re leaning.”

Prather wants to remind people: get smoke detectors.

That family did have them. He says they were awake at the time, but if they hadn’t been, those smoke detectors would have been key.


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