Published: Jul 01, 2014 5:39 PM EDT
Updated: Jul 01, 2014 7:45 PM EDT

CAPE CORAL, Fla.- Lightning strikes a Cape Coral home Monday evening, blasting a hole through the roof. But WINK News learned this isn't the first time this homeowner has dealt with fire and lightning, and it won't be the last.

The force of the lightning cracked the roof, and splintered boards in the attic. Monday evening, John Nichols was out running errands, while his wife was inside their home in the Sandoval Community.

"Lightning hit the house to the point where the neighbors around us thought it hit them," said Nichols. "She called me right away, and I told her get the kids out of the house, get the important paperwork, and get out. Driving home, I had the worst thoughts in my head."

Once home, he jumped into action. Before the fire department even arrived, he headed straight towards the smell of smoke in the attic. "I ran down and grabbed a pair of old boots I had, old duty boots. I got a rubber spatula and duty boots and shorts, and I'm in an attic flipping things around looking for fire!"

Nichols, though, is no stranger to fire. He happens to be a firefighter with the San Carlos Fire Department, and has responded several times to homes hit by lightning. This time, he was lucky. "It could of been a lot worse, especially if we were not home," he said.

Last week, lightning struck a condo complex on Sanibel Island. Flames destroyed the building

If lightning hits your home, Nichols has some advice. "You need to call 911 right away. Just because you don't smell, see any smoke, doesn't mean something can't be smoldering up there. Or in the wall," he said.

He's also grateful to Cape Coral firefighters who helped him Monday night.

The force of the blast, Nichols says, turned some of his shingles to glass, knocked out his internet and cable, and struck his air conditioning unit.