On Saturday afternoon, people in Hanchinala village in Belagavi districtâ€™s Shivadattu taluk witnessed lightening and heard loud thunder.
However, they did not expect to lose their homes that night with half of the villages being wiped out.
According to Krishnappa, a farmer who lost his home, lightning struck the haystacks in one of the farms, which caught fire and quickly spread to other homes in the village.
As many as 72 homes and 76 haystacks were gutted in the village that night.
â€śThe haystacks were right next to each other and after lightning struck one of them, it caught fire and the flames engulfed the other haystacks and spread to the huts and sheds as well. At the time of the incident, there was no one in the huts and sheds. However, three heads of cattle were burnt alive in the fire and a bullock cart was also destroyed,â€ť Krishnappa said.
11 fire tenders from Savadatti, Dharwad, and Navalgund rushed to douse the flames and the fire-fighting exercise continued till late in the night.
On Sunday, Small Scales Industries Minister, Ramesh Jarkiholki, handed over cheques to some of the affected families who lost their houses and also cheques to the families which lost the animals.
Currently, these villagers have been moved to the school playground, where temporary camps have been set up.
Minister Jarkiholi has promised the construction of 100 houses under the Basava Kalyana scheme within three months.
Krishnappa had taken a loan of Rs 3 lakh from a private moneylender by pledging his 5-acre plot, just a day before the fire. The fire not only gutted his home in which he had kept foodgrains but also his cowshed. Seven of his cows were burnt alive.
â€śThere was nothing left to save. There is no way Iâ€™m going to repay my loan. Now I fear I will lose my plot of land as well,â€ť Krishnappa said.
While some villagers claimed that lightening was the cause of the fire, Krishnappaâ€™s wife, Balavva, believes that someone set fire to a dry bush near a pond located about a kilometre from the village.
â€śAs there were light showers and strong winds, it must have sparked the flames and spread to a haystack, which destroyed houses in four lanes of the village,â€ť she added.
Minister Jarkiholi has promised a thorough investigation into the cause of the disaster.