85-year-old East Joliet man dies in fire after lightning strikes his home

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EAST JOLIET, Ill. — An elderly East Joliet man died in a fire after lightning struck his home early Wednesday morning.

East Joliet firefighters arrived to the home, located just east of Route Six and Briggs Street, just after 6:15 a.m.

Surveillance footage obtained by WGN News shows lightning strike the home of 85-year-old Raymond Ziegler.

“My house shook. I felt like the ground lifted the house up and the sky turned blue,” a neighbor said.

Authorities said furniture and other belongings kept them from getting the Ziegler sooner. The great-grandfather of nine and veteran died of smoke inhalation.

Neighbors said that he was a nice man.

“It hurt my heart. I hate to see that he’s gone. I’m hurt to see that he’s gone,” said neighbor Charita Adams. “I wish they got to him faster.”

The Illinois State Fire Marshal is investigating the case.

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