Local News


Las Vegas Family escapes lightning-caused fire with the help of two mystery men

The family credits the men with saving their house
Posted at 11:25 PM, Apr 29, 2019
and last updated 2019-04-30 02:33:18-04

LAS VEGAS (KTNV) — A wild weather day has a Las Vegas family considering themselves lucky after a lightning strike caught 5 palms trees on fire, just feet from their home, and two, mystery, good Samaritans jumped in with fire extinguishers which bought them precious seconds to escape.

The fire broke out around 1:15 p.m. at a home near Oakey and Decatur.

"I was in my room getting up and I heard the rain and I could see the actual house light up.

Russell Keliiheleua said his family, including his disabled father and older sister, mother and his young niece were home at the time the lightning struck.

The family looked outside and saw the orange glow from their tallest palm tree.

"I was running out, my mom was running out," said Keliiheleua.

The pair tried to use garden hoses to put out the flames which spread to a total of 5 palm trees.

Each appeared to have a substantial amount of dead palm fronds on them.

"I'm up on the roof with the water hose and she's in the front yard with the water hose to spray the house down to try and save it,"

Within minutes, Keliiheleua said the flames were becoming out of control but then two mystery men showed up out of nowhere.

"There's no words to apply the gratitude to the two guys that came and helped us, with what seemed, maybe they didn't do much, what little they did, helped out a lot," explained Keliiheleua.

The two men fought the flames back with fire extinguishers which gave the family mere moments to escape their home.

"I want to thank the two gentlemen who came out and saw us," said Keliiheleua.

Video provided to 13 Action News shows another palm tree on fire around the same time and a witness says it too was struck by lightning.

"At that time, and in that location, we had a nice cell producing a couple of lightning strikes that could easily strike any object on the ground," said 13 Action News Meteorologist Dan Bronis.

Bronis said lightning by it's very nature is mysterious in that it's hard to predict where it will strike.

"We can't techinically get into a lightning strike to see what's happening," said Bronis.

"It's so fast, and it's so powerful, that it's almost impossible to get in there to measure exactly what's happening when lightning strikes.

Bornis said a bolt of lightning can travel up to 10 miles away from the actual storm with temperatures exceeding 50,000 degrees Fahrenheit.

Keliiheleua said no one was hurt and the damage can be fixed.