Some might call it a miracle. Others may call it luck.
© © Photo special to The Guardian by CTV Atlantic
One-year-old Jaxen Cormier is shown in his playpen in this image taken by CTV Atlantic. Lightning struck the vacation home his family was staying in along the Cabot Trail in Cape Breton on the weekend. Jaxen was unharmed.
However one chooses to view what happened to a Summerside family on their Cape Breton vacation last weekend, the story is simply amazing.
Summerside lawyer Jeffery Cormier, his wife, Jessica, and their three children were staying at a summer tourist home in South Harbour on the Cabot Trail when it was struck by lightning.
What they did not know at that moment was that in another room of the house where their one-year-old son, Jaxen, was asleep in his playpen, lightning had wreaked havoc but miraculously left Jaxen unharmed.
The electrical energy from the lightning that struck the house knocked a telephone off of its base, fried a power bar and obliterated an Internet router, sending pieces of metal and plastic flying into the child’s playpen but missing him completely.
Jessica Cormier told The Guardian that the lightning that struck the house was followed by a large clap of thunder.
Believing Jaxen would likely wake from his sleep, she went to his room.
What she found when she opened the door was frightening.
“I went in to check on him, thinking he might be awake now,” Cormier said. ‘When I opened the door, the room was full of smoke and I could smell burning plastic. I quickly ran to the playpen, scooped him up and ran out of the room yelling at other people to get out, that there was a fire.”
They quickly checked Jaxen over to see if he was OK and he was. In fact, he had slept through the whole ordeal.
When she went back into the house some time later to check things out, what Cormier saw was hard to believe.
There were two good-sized holes in Jaxen’s playpen, where it is believed the lightning hit the playpen.
Scattered inside the playpen were pieces of plastic and metal fragments from the router.
None of them had struck Jaxen.
Cormier said they kept a very close watch on Jaxen for the next 24 hours to make sure he had not suffered any ill effects from the smoke in his room or ingested any of the fragments from the router.
They were supposed to stay at their vacation rental for another two days but were concerned about the safety of the structure after the lightning strike.
“But the owner of the home was very good. He brought in an electrician who lived two hours away from us to check out the house, make any repairs and make sure it was safe.”
They were eventually able to get the power restored and resumed their vacation.
Cormier said they weren’t the only ones to be struck by lightning that day.
A short distance away, lightning struck another house, owned by the same family who operates the vacation home they rented.
“The lightning blew a hole in the cement foundation of that house.”
No one was injured there either.
Cormier said she feels her family is incredibly lucky to have survived a lightning strike like this.
“I still can’t believe with all the smoke and the router exploding that no one was hurt, and that Jaxen slept through it. It was incredible. I’ve never seen lightning like that before. It came right down to the ground. And the lightning that struck the summer house was so bright, it was like a blinding blue flash ... Somebody was watching over us.”
Jeff Cormier, too, believes they’re very lucky to have come though this without anyone being hurt.
“Mother Nature always wins and this time she did win,” he says. “However, no injuries.”
He said they still managed to have a great vacation.
And they’ll have a vacation story worthy of being shared for years to come.