GLENN DALE, MD. (WUSA9) - Tragedy struck in Glenn Dale, Md., literally.
A homeowner says her house burned down after lightning hit it.
If there was any luck here, it was that Valerie Simons wasn't in her home at the time. Simmons says she was at a family reunion in South Carolina and decided last minute, to stay an extra day that July 24th.
At around 1 a.m., that July 24th, Prince George's County fire department arrived at North Lansdale St. and found a tree and Valerie Simmons' house on fire. She says neighbors reported hearing a boom.
You can see what looks like a big hole, runs through all three floors.
What we weren't expecting to find was such an honest person! I asked Simmons about her savings -- how she's surviving?
"All I got is my GoFundMe page. I'm like everyone else in American living paycheck to paycheck!" Simmons joked.
Still, she's still keeping up her spirits-up despite what happened. And it's a lot.
"It was very difficult walking through here," she said showing WUSA 9 the inside of the home. When she got back, her home, of 9-years, was torched and drenched.
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"There were people, restoration people but I hadn't grasped my mind around this whole situation," Simmons said.
She tells us the cat she's had for 10-years, Simone, died in the fire. She and her roommate, the other house owner, also lost about $75-thousand dollars-worth in damage according to PGFD. They lost books, artwork, instruments -- they're both musicians. Simmons says she's also a server on a tight budget.
"The next couple days it was numbness. I was like, 'Oh my God. Everything is gone. You know, I don't have any documents right now,' she said.
Still, she sang something upbeat outside of her home. Simmons says she's a spiritual person and believes this may have happened for a reason. We were also surprised to learn; this isn't her first battle.
"I've conquered breast cancer, so I'm a breast cancer survivor two years. So, my friends are like look; you beat the main thing man so you can get the-you'll be okay!" Simmons said smiling.
If you'd like to help Valerie Simmons out, you can do so here: https://www.gofundme.com/supportama
A PGFD Spokesperson says they're still looking into it, but yes, Fire Investigators say the damage on the outside of the home is consistent with a lightning strike.
Unfortunately, PGFD Spokesperson Mark Brady says there's nothing we can do to prevent it.
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