"Worse than a bomb" was how a Cordeaux Heights man described the lightning strike which set his ceiling on fire on Sunday night.
Sesto Cicero was watching soccer about 6.45pm when his Derribong Drive house "shuddered" due to the force of the strike.
"I thought oh my God ... I haven't heard anything like this before," Mr Cicero said.
"It was unbelievable."
The house lost power immediately after the strike, and Mr Cicero went outside to see if his neighbours were also without electricity.
When he realised his was the only house without power, he went downstairs and found water overflowing from the piping.
His wife Franca, meanwhile, had noticed fire in one of the home's airconditioning units.
A neighbour also saw smoke billowing from the ceiling.
"We just called triple-0 and that's it," he said. "I said 'that's it, we're finished'."
NSW Fire and Rescue crews responded within five minutes, and were able to quickly bring the blaze under control.
On Monday, the charred remains of Mr Cicero's airconditioning system sat on his front lawn.
He was full of praise for the firefighters who fought the blaze.
"They did save the house, it was a great job," he said.
He said the damage would be covered by insurance.
Fire and Rescue Wollongong Inspector John Hawes said electricity to the house had to be cut due to the amount of electrical damage inside.
"There was a fire in the roof space so we had crews from Wollongong and Unanderra attend and they used a thermal imaging camera to identify where the fire was and have put the fire out," he said.