Firefighters spent hours battling a house fire on Cardinal Road in East Lyme that lightning might have caused.
The fire started around 7:15 a.m., right after a storm came through and brought lightning as well as heavy rain.
The couple and their children who live in the house were away on vacation when the fire started, officials said.
A neighbor who was checking his house to see if the storms caused damage noticed the smoke.
"It's devastating to realize they could’ve been in the house," Paul Russell, of Oakdale, said.
Firefighters had to pull hoses for blocks because there are no fire hydrants nearby and mutual aid was called in from from Chesterfield and Flanders.
The cause of the fire is still under investigation, but neighbors saw lightning this morning and fire officials said lightning is a strong possibility.
"We heard a crack of lightning. We heard the thunder and a big bolt of lightning and it lit up our house too. I said to him, it had to have hit something," Joan Russell, of Oakdale, said.
Firefighters from several area fire departments responded for mutual aid.
"We tried to approach the house, I tried to get closer to it, but the heat was so intense that we backed away and I just called 911," Deborah Barner, of East Lyme, said.