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Crews were cleaning up Tuesday morning in Berkeley, where a redwood tree was shredded by lightning Monday afternoon near Holly Street and Buena Avenue. (Karina Ioffee/Staff)

BERKELEY -- Crews were cleaning up Tuesday morning after a lightning strike blasted a redwood tree in North Berkeley the day before, damaging two homes and several cars.

The force from the lightning strike, at 1:22 p.m. Monday at the corner of Holly Street and Buena Avenue, caused the 80-foot tree to explode and sent pieces of redwood flying as far as a block away, fire officials said.

No one was injured, but two homes sustained roof damage and several others had electric problems after debris from the tree hit wires, said Berkeley Fire Deputy Chief Avery Webb. One home was red-tagged and several cars were damaged, including a van that had its roof crushed.

"The surprising thing is with all the carnage, nobody got injured," Webb said.

On Tuesday morning, chunks of the fallen tree lay in front yards as neighbors stopped to collect pieces of redwood and branches as keepsakes, and snapped photos of the damage.

One of them was Donna Van Valer, who lives nearby and was at home when lightning shook her home.

"I saw a flash of light and then heard an explosion," she said. "It scared us to death, but we didn't realize what had happened until we went for a walk in the evening."

The Berkeley Fire Department is continuing to inspect the damaged homes for new hazards and a cleanup is expected.

Contact Karina Ioffee at kioffee@bayareanewsgroup.com. Follow her at Twitter.com/kioffee.



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