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Man, 8 cats survive fire after lightning strike

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MEMPHIS, Tenn. -- A businessman and his eight cats are lucky to be alive after lightning sparked a fire at their East Memphis home early Tuesday morning.

Dallas Sharp has no problem describing the sound that jolted him awake around 2:30 a.m.

"It sounded like a depth charge going off in an old submarine destroyer movie," said Sharp.

But it wasn't an exploding submarine -- just the sound of lightning striking somewhere near his home in the 900 block of Fair Meadow Road.

“I went back to sleep, about five minutes later, I wake up smelling smoke," recalls Sharp.

The smoke was coming from a small utility closet where Sharp keeps his water heater.

The flames torched everything inside the closet, including an unopened fire extinguisher.

"This is nothing compared to what it could have been," said Sharp, who was in the process of remodeling his home before the fire broke out.

Sharp tells WREG that firefighters told him the blaze was sparked by lightning that sent electric currents into his home through some of the copper pipes in his plumbing.

Sharp's home sustained some minor fire damage as well as water damage from when fire crews put out the blaze, but Sharp said he's counting his blessings.

“I couldn’t be more blessed and more thankful to the Memphis Fire Department. They were quick on the draw," Sharp said.

The Memphis Fire Department has not yet released the official cause of the fire.