Lightning strike damages home
A pensioner had a lucky escape yesterday when her home was devastated in what fire crews described as the worst lightning strike they had ever seen.The bolt hit the chimney of her house on Union Road, Smallburgh, at about 2pm, leaving a hole in the roof, the windows blown out and the top floor devastated.
A pensioner had a lucky escape yesterday when her home was devastated in what fire crews described as the worst lightning strike they had ever seen.
The bolt hit the chimney of her house on Union Road, Smallburgh, at about 2pm, leaving a hole in the roof, the windows blown out and the top floor devastated.
Neighbours, whose homes were also damaged in the incident, rallied around to help the homeowner, who is in her late 70s, as she stumbled from the house.
Last night the pensioner, who was sitting downstairs when the lightning struck, was being looked after by family after miraculously escaping unhurt.
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James Bloyce, who was standing just metres away when his next-door neighbour's house was hit, said: “It was like a bomb had gone off. If she had been upstairs she would have been killed. She's really quite a timid woman. She came out of the house and she was shaken, she could barely stand up.”
Two fire crews from Stalham and Wroxham were on the scene within 10 minutes of it happening. A spokesman said they made sure the homeowner was uninjured before checking surrounding houses for fire.
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Martin Barsby, from Norfolk Fire Service, said it appeared to be an isolated incident. He added: “I've spoken to the crews and officers who were on the scene who said it was incredible. This is one of the worst lightning strikes they have ever seen in terms of the damage.”
As well as the pensioner's home, which had huge cracks in the internal walls, four more houses were damaged as a result of the strike, with windows smashed, phone lines cut off and electricity boxes blown off the wall.
Mr Bloyce's brother Jonathan, 20, who was also at home along with his parents, said roof tiles from next door had fallen on to the family's car.
Sharon Betts, has lived on Union Road with her partner Adrian Metcalf, 43, since 1996.
The 39-year-old, who was upstairs asleep when the lightning hit her neighbour's house, said: “I could smell smoke. I thought 'I've got to get out of this house.'”
Emma Coombs, a forecaster at Norwich-based Weatherquest, said the weather had not been particularly spectacular. She said: “There was quite a large area of showers which fed in late morning around midday from the wash area.”
She said there had been some rumbles of thunder in many parts of Norfolk but she had not received reports of anything more significant. She added: “It's difficult to say if it was a bit more active once it moved across. It could have been slightly warmer as the sun came out and maybe had a bit more energy.”
Structural engineers and environmental health officers visited the pensioner's home last night to assess the damage.