Reno family makes shocking discovery |

Reno family makes shocking discovery

Jennifer Davoren
Aspen Times Staff Writer

Remember the earth-shattering thunderclap last Saturday morning that sounded like it hit your house? Well, it didn’t. It hit Augie Reno’s house.

A large aspen tree near the Reno house, just off Cemetery Lane, took the brunt of the blast, which hit just after 8 a.m. Saturday. Unfortunately, the tree’s roots and branches acted as a conduit for the sudden surge of electricity, sending it through a nearby irrigation system and an “invisible” underground dog fence.

Wiring for the fence and irrigation system carried the electricity into the house, where it blew a few fuses and burned a lot of wiring.

“It blew about a 4-foot hole in the roof of the house and destroyed a number of the windows in one room. It also blew up part of the deck next to the tree,” said Reno, a local architect and president of the Aspen School Board.

The strike littered the lawn with debris, which scattered as far as 80 feet from the house. It also blew out the home’s phone system and the wiring for the family hot tub.

Thankfully, the Reno family wasn’t home at the time of the lightning strike. However, Reno missed it by mere minutes – he was driving home to pick up rain gear for the family when he “heard this big boom.”

“I must have gotten there 10 minutes after it happened,” Reno said. He found the family dogs unharmed, but happy to see him.

The strike shook Reno’s entire neighborhood, creating headaches for other homeowners. One neighbor came home after the strike to find his home flooded with 8 inches of water.

“The concussion, the noise [from the strike] broke a water pipe,” Reno said.

Reno and his family spent the week with friends as electricians and the Aspen Fire Protection District investigated damage to the house. They’ll be home in a day or two, once repairs are finished, Reno said.

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