Girl bolts from bed after lightning strike

Seven-year-old escapes unharmed after flames engulf mattress

Lightning accompanying the intense storms that swept through the area Thursday sent a 7-year-old Tonganoxie girl scrambling from her burning bed – and left Snow, her favorite unicorn doll, with a coat of singed white fur.

Kaylee Shriner said she was asleep in her upstairs bedroom just before 8:30 a.m. when she heard a loud noise and felt her bed become very hot. When she looked up, flames had begun to engulf her mattress. Kaylee and her sister Kristen, 5, who share the room, ran out in search of their parents.

“We went down saying, ‘Mom! Dad! My bed’s on fire, my room’s on fire!'” Kaylee said. “Then (dad) went up and he said bad words.”

Kaylee’s father, Trent Shriner, grabbed the burning mattress and dragged it outside.

Tonganoxie fire crews arrived at the scene shortly thereafter and determined that a lightning bolt had struck the roof of the house, traveled through a metal beam in the drywall and into the springs of Kaylee’s mattress. Kaylee managed to get out of the bed without incurring any injuries.

“She was more shaken up than anything,” said Capt. John Callaghan of the Tonganoxie Fire Department. “I think just about anybody would be shaken up having lightning blow up right underneath them.”

While Kaylee and her sister escaped injury, their room was left with a gaping hole in the ceiling and a scorch mark along the wall. Kaylee’s “Bratz” comforter was ruined, as were several of her dolls, including Snow the unicorn.

“The horn was shrinked and so were the feets and the tail,” Kaylee said. “It was very special to me. But my grandma might get me a new one.”

As members of the fire crew were returning to the station after the incident at the Shriner house, they witnessed lightning strike the Friends Church at the corner of Fourth and Shawnee streets.

The crew went over to investigate. No one was inside the church, so they forced entry and found that the lightning had caused minor damage to the ceiling but had not started a fire.