Oklahoma Lightning Singles Out One Toilet in Apartments for Obliteration

Lightning destroyed a single toilet in an apartment building in Oklahoma during intense thunderstorms this week, said local fire officials.

Severe tornadoes and thunderstorms pummeled parts of Oklahoma and Texas on Wednesday, causing significant damage to some areas. In Okmulgee, about 40 miles south of Tulsa, lightning appeared to hit a building's roof, strike an exhaust fan and then extend to one particular toilet inside an apartment unit, according to firefighters.

Photos that spread on social media show the toilet completely destroyed, with charred pieces of it scattered across the floor, below a black hole in the ceiling. Little else appeared to be damaged in the bathroom.

"You'll never see it again in your life. It's almost like an act of God. I mean it's just unexplainable," Okmulgee Fire Lieutenant Rocky Morrow told Fox Television Stations Group.

When firefighters arrived, they had to extinguish a small fire in the insulation, Fire Chief Dewayne Hurt told the outlet. They also found a "slightly" burned rafter in the attic, which is where fire officials believe the lightning struck.

Lightning strikes toilet in Oklahoma storm
Lightning destroyed one particular toilet in an apartment building during a thunderstorm in Oklahoma this week, according to fire officials. Above, a storm in Olustee, Oklahoma, in May 2017. Drew Angerer/Getty Images

The apartment unit was vacant at the time, but new tenants were set to move in the following morning, according to the outlet.

The incident serves a reminder of best safety practices during lightning storms. About 20 people die of lightning strikes each year in the United States, according to the National Weather Service.

Lightning is able to travel through plumbing, meaning people should stay away from it during thunderstorms, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. This means people should avoid using a toilet, taking a shower, washing their hands, or washing dishes when there is lightning outside.

Images from the powerful storms that hit the region with lightning and tornadoes spread on social media this week. One clip shows cars flipped over and homes damaged, while another reveals a caved-in roof and knocked-over tree amid flashes of lightning.

In Lockett, Texas, one man told the Weather Channel his family took refuge in a storm cellar shortly before a tornado destroyed his home. He added that lightning flashes helped him to see the twister heading toward his home after he lost electricity. Three people in Lockett suffered injuries during the storms, though no deaths have been reported, according to the Weather Channel.

Last month in Iowa, a storm chaser captured the moment lightning hit his friend's Toyota Prius, calling it a "once in a lifetime shot."

Newsweek reached out to the Okmulgee Fire Department for comment.