The fire that destroyed the historic Forks of Cypress mansion was so intense, it melted the lights and peeled the paint on firetrucks.
Harry Wallace, whose family owned the antebellum plantation house, said a lightning strike on the house blasted a hole through the roof and started a fire that consumed the structure in half an hour.
It was 50 years ago today that the Forks of Cypress, built in 1821, burned to the ground, leaving only the now-iconic brick columns.
"There was a thunderstorm, and there was a direct hit of lightning," Wallace said.
He had just graduated from high school and was living with his parents near the Forks of Cypress. He said his great-uncle owned the property at the time, and his mother was the curator.
"My dad and I were the first ones there," he said. "There was a hole in the roof where the lightning hit. We could see flames in all the rooms. In 30 minutes, it was gone."
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