Natural disasters keep coming for BR woman

Rebuilt after lightning caused fire, home crushed by tree in Sunday storm

“I feel like I have three children, two graduated and my baby graduates this year on May 16, and I should be planning graduation parties, but instead I’m worried about where I’m going to live again.” Angles Scales, of Baton Rouge

The adage goes that lightning never strikes the same place twice — but it literally did for Angles Scales, a Baton Rouge single mother of three.

And the lightning destroyed her home twice in back-to-back disasters.

Eight months ago, lightning struck her backyard, creating a power surge that led to an electrical fire.

The fire caused about $65,000 worth of damage that displaced the family until Wednesday, when they were allowed to move back into the home on East Glenhaven Drive in the Sherwood Forest area.

Less than a week later, lightning struck again. On Sunday night, during a turbulent storm, lightning hit a tree in the backyard, sending the massive branches of a water oak crashing through a bedroom.

Two French foreign exchange students had arrived at Scales’ home on Friday for the beginning of their two-week stay.

The girls were sleeping in the bedroom when the tree came crashing through the ceiling and tore down the walls.

“I was sleeping and I heard the sound of the windows breaking and I screamed,” said Clemence Mazingue, 15, a foreign exchange student. “I sleep up against the wall, but the wall wasn’t there.”

On Monday afternoon, Scales toured the damage of the home she had just moved back into.

There are still boxes waiting to be unpacked. She was excited to use her new kitchen, renovated after the fire.

Her daughter Sunni Leahman, who has shared a hotel room with her older sister for the past several months, had just gotten comfortable in her room. Prom is next week for the Episcopal High senior, but her long white and gold dress was in the closet destroyed by the tree.

“It’ll be OK,” Leahman said, adding her boyfriend had just bought his matching tuxedo. “But I don’t want to think about it right now.”

Leahman said she was sleeping through the storm when she was suddenly awoken by the sound of their houseguests’ screams. She said she ran to the commotion and was shocked to see that part of the house was torn off.

Looking at the wreckage of the damaged bedroom, with missing walls and fallen beams, Leahman said it’s amazing that no one was hurt.

“They had a little bit of roof in their hair,” Leahman joked, “but fortunately no one was hurt.”

Scales described the series of events as surreal.

“I feel like I have three children, two graduated and my baby graduates this year on May 16, and I should be planning graduation parties, but instead I’m worried about where I’m going to live again,” said Scales, who fittingly works as an insurance adjuster.

Scales joked about her bad luck, noting that a tree also went through her roof in 2008 during Hurricane Gustav.

But she said she also considers herself incredibly lucky that no one has been injured in any of the disasters.

“No matter how bad things are, there’s got to be a blessing in there somewhere,” Scales said. “I’m just happy we’re all alive.”

Despite the near-death experience, the foreign exchange students say they want to stay with Scales’ family for the rest of their trip, even if it’s in a hotel room.

“I don’t want to stay with any other family,” Mazingue said.