A fifth-grade student was doing her homework when she heard a loud boom during a thunderstorm.
Emma Lucas quickly ran to the kitchen window to look outside and saw a rabbit scurrying across the backyard. Then, she saw the corner of a neighbor’s home in Greenwood on fire.
The loud boom was a lightning strike that hit the roof of newlyweds Saeed Malek and Samar Farhat’s home in the Preserve at South Lake subdivision, off Worthsville Road. The fire destroyed the roof and second floor of the home, Greenwood Fire Chief James Sipes said.
Emma screamed when she saw the glow coming from the burning home, bringing her mother, Traci Lucas, and her mother’s fiance, Tim Napier, into the room.
Traci Lucas grabbed an umbrella and her cellphone, running to the corner to see what street the home was located on to call 911 for help.
Napier ran out the back door and across several yards to his neighbor’s burning home. He loudly pounded on the front door seven or eight times, hoping to get the attention of anyone inside. Napier didn’t know the couple well, outside of saying hello on a walk around the block.
“I have kids of my own, and I wanted to make sure everybody was out of the house,” Napier said. “Anything else can be fixed or replaced, but I wanted to make sure everybody was safe.”
Farhat opened the door, and the scene inside looked normal. She looked alarmed, and either did not yet realize her home was on fire or was possibly caught off guard by a strange man pounding on her front door, Napier said.
“She kind of backed away from the door and then she took a couple of steps to go up the stairs to see for herself,” Napier said. “She got two or three steps up, and that’s when smoke started coming down.”
Just a few moments after Farhat got out of the home, the entire upstairs was engulfed in flames that shot through the roof.
The couple got married in October and bought the home at 2708 Nighthawk Road in November, according to county records.
“She was pretty upset because it was their first home and everything in it was new,” Lucas said.
Farhat sat in a neighbor’s car with Lucas until her husband arrived home from work.
“She was pretty calm, but when her husband arrived she started crying, and they went off on their own for a little bit,” Lucas said.
Once he found out Napier helped, he came over to shake his hand and give him a hug.
“He thanked me for saving his wife’s life,” Napier said.
A day after the fire, the scene at the home was quiet. A few cars drove by trying to get a closer look. The charred wood on the ground, bedrooms without a roof, and melted siding hanging off both of the neighboring homes was a clear reminder of the dangerous situation the night before.
Malek and Farhat could not be reached for comment Thursday.