The House that Exploded
At 6:57 Tuesday evening there was a flash of lightning with a simultaneous crash that rocked the foundations of Kelliher. The lightning had struck the A. O. Saevig residence, shattering all window panes but one; rendered Mr. Saevig dizzy, sent Mrs. Saevig reeling towards the back door and Eleanor, who was just walking out the front door, spinning out the door. Splintered and wrecked partitions between the rooms made the house a total wreck.
Mr. Saevig is the only one of the three who was injured. A small bolt of lightning hit him throwing him off the davenport on which he was resting, to the floor, injuring his neck and leaving a burn from his back to the heel of his right foot; tore his garter and ripped his stocking. That he is still alive is a miracle. He is absent from his duties as Superintendent at the Kelliher school, suffering from shock and burns.
Outside of the shock, Mrs. Saevig and Eleanor are little worse off for the experience. That they were not seriously injured is almost past understanding. One son, Roger, was up town and another son, Paul, had gone for milk.
As is reported by some near the scene, a white house cat appeared red as it leaped out through a broken window unhurt, after the flash. In a few minutes the entire town was at the house.
The Saevig's say that the bolt of lightning exploded in the room somewhat like a huge firecracker, balls of fire flying all around the house. A cloud of dark, yellowish smoke erupted from the ruins right after the explosion. The davenport in which Mr. Saevig was reclining and an upstairs bed were the only two placed where fire started. These were put out at once by some of the group that had gathered.
Mrs. Saevig came to her husbands aid and assisted him towards the front door. Art Kaupanger and his father arrived on the scene just then, followed by Ray Leach and Walt Hensel, who rushed the Saevig's to the doctor's office where first aid was immediately rendered.
The bolt of lightning, which was the only one near the town, struck the house on the south side of the chimney, tearing off most of the roof, and scattering the debris in all directions. Some of the heavier pieces of wood fell down into the upper rooms, doing much damage to the household furniture, breaking several pieces and smashing two steel bed steads. Volunteers immediately removed all of the household goods to the school house basement for storage and to save it from further damage by rain and wind.
The Saevig's are now making their home at the E. J. Miller's.
The electric charge followed the light wires, blowing out several fuses in the town and doing other damage to electrical equipment and telephones. The flash was felt in every home in town. About a dozen radios were burned out, including the Chas. Gray, Wm. Mooney, John Hufnagle, Wilbur Peterson, Latterell's and the Gergen Linnum. E. J. Cain reported that his telephone was torn off the wall with a crash, smashed to bits. The light meter in the Corner Restaurant was torn off the wall, burning one of the light fuses in such a way that it could not be removed. The neon sign in front of the liquor store was also burned out. The insulation on the highline wires was burned off for several blocks distant from the house.
Carl Rupe has been busy repairing damaged telephone wires and checking phones, while electricians are repairing light wires since the flash.
The alarm clock in the house stopped at exactly three minutes of seven, the time of the flash.