Two homes evacuated in Bradwell after lightning strike sparks fire

Two homes evacuated in Bradwell after lightning strike sparks fire. Picture: ESSEX FIRE AND RESCUE

Two homes evacuated in Bradwell after lightning strike sparks fire. Picture: ESSEX FIRE AND RESCUE - Credit: Archant

Two families were forced out of their homes in the early hours of this morning after lightning struck and sparked a fire.

Two homes evacuated in Bradwell after lightning strike sparks fire. Picture: ESSEX FIRE AND RESCUE

Two homes evacuated in Bradwell after lightning strike sparks fire. Picture: ESSEX FIRE AND RESCUE - Credit: Archant

The residents were supported by a team from the British Red Cross as firefighters worked to tackle the flames in the roofs of two houses in The Street, Bradwell, shortly before 4am.

The blaze was extinguished by 5.45am.

Station Officer Steve Wintrip, Braintree Fire Station, said: “When we arrived at the address, the residents of all four properties in the row had already evacuated. The fire started in the roof of one property, but the fire was already affecting the roof space of the adjoining property and smoke had started to fill two other properties.

“We sent firefighters straight into the properties to fight the fire from inside. The crews did a brilliant job at stopping the fire which we managed to extinguish within 40 minutes.

“Firefighters then used an aerial ladder platform (ALP) to get access to the roof space, extinguish remaining hot spots and remove broken roof tiles to make the area safe.

“Unfortunately, all four properties have suffered either fire or smoke damage and are no longer habitable.

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“The four residents who were affected were looked after by their neighbours who rallied around to make sure they were looked after. We also had the support of the Red Support Fire Support Unit who helped the residents and managed to organise alternative accommodation for them.”

The brigade sent two fire engines from Braintree, one from Coggeshall and the aerial ladder platform vehicle from Colchester.

One of the homeowners, who was in bed at the time when the big bolt of lightning struck, said: “It sounded like a bomb going off. These things happen and we just have to tidy up now and move on.”

The blaze broke out amid an intense thunder and lightning storm which swept over East Anglia in the early hours of this morning.

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Trains are disrupted between Bishops Stortford and Stansted Airport this morning because a tree has fallen and damaged the overhead electric wires.

Problems are expected until 10am.