Heavy storm: lightning throws families into the streets

Families in Sainte-Marthe-sur-le-Lac are finding new homes after narrowly escaping a powerful bolt of lightning that reduced their home to ashes late Thursday afternoon.

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“It started to hail, so we picked our daughters up from school,” says Cindy Marcil.


The home of Cindy Marcil, mother of five children aged between 9 and 22, was struck by lightning late in the afternoon on Thursday 16 June.  LAURENT LAVOIE/LE JOURNAL DE MONTREAL/AGENCY QMI

Photo Laurent Lavoie

The home of Cindy Marcil, mother of five children aged between 9 and 22, was struck by lightning late in the afternoon on Thursday 16 June. LAURENT LAVOIE/LE JOURNAL DE MONTREAL/AGENCY QMI

On her return, the mother of five children, aged 9 to 22, found her apartment in the Laurentians on fire.

“I stopped my car in the middle and collapsed on the ground,” she says, before choking on emotion.

In his absence, lightning had struck his house, causing an intense fire that erupted in imposing flames and black smoke.


Furniture covered in ash stood upright.

Photo Laurent Lavoie

Furniture covered in ash stood upright.

About forty firefighters from several municipalities, including Deux-Montagnes and Boisbriand, were called to fight the fire.

According to extreme weather expert Patrick de Bellefeuille of MétéoMédia, the temperature of a lightning bolt is estimated at 30,000 °C.

“It burns right away,” he says, snapping his fingers.

According to testimonies collected by The newspaperthe heat of the flames was so intense that the doorknobs of the neighboring houses became hot.

Three houses were also affected by the disaster, two of them very badly, as evidenced on Friday by debris found in the open air after the roofs were destroyed.

Two families of four and seven, as well as an elderly lady, were thrown onto the street.

In extreme cases

The elder’s life may have been saved by Armand Côté, who lives across the street, in extreme cases.


Armand Côté rushed to an elder's door after hearing a big

Photo Laurent Lavoie

Armand Côté rushed to an elder’s door after hearing a big “boom.” and saw white smoke rising from the roof of a house struck by lightning on Thursday, June 16. LAVOIE/THE MONTREAL JOURNAL/QMI AGENCY

He rushed to his door after hearing a loud “boom” and seeing white smoke billowing from the roof.

“She didn’t know what was going on, she was listening to TV, is still surprised Mr. Côté, who then filmed the fire. By setting foot [à l’extérieur], it went “Phew”, and that’s when the fire caught. »

” When [la dame] When she saw the smoke, the first thing she tried to do was save my dog,” adds Elizabeth McCarthy, daughter of Cindy Marcil, wiping away tears.

Unfortunately, Méo, the seven-year-old three-legged animal, died in the fire.


Little Méo, who has three legs and is 7 years old, died after lightning struck houses in Sainte-Marthe-sur-le-Lac on Thursday 16 June.  COURTESY OF ELIZABETH MCCARTHY

Courtesy of Elizabeth McCarthy

Little Méo, who has three legs and is 7 years old, died after lightning struck houses in Sainte-Marthe-sur-le-Lac on Thursday 16 June. COURTESY OF ELIZABETH MCCARTHY

future to be determined

It is difficult to estimate what the Marcil family is expecting, who fear that the overpriced rents will make it difficult to find an apartment.

The mother explains that she works on a voluntary basis and part-time because she has to take care of her five children, some of whom suffer from coordination problems.

“We’re always good at helping others, but when it happens to us, we can’t help ourselves,” she jokes.

Many citizens had already mobilized on social networks on Friday to offer the victims help.

What you should know about lightning

  • 2 to 3 Canadians die from lightning every year
  • The vast majority of these deaths occur in Quebec, Alberta, Saskatchewan and Ontario
  • The odds of being struck by lightning are less than one in a million
  • The heat of lightning is estimated at 30,000ºC
  • It can wear up 100 million volts of electricity

Sources: Environment Canada and Canadian Center for Occupational Health and Safety

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