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Shotley Gate: A huge bang and a flash of light – witnesses describe the moment lightning hit house in Shotley Gate

PUBLISHED: 06:00 19 April 2013

Archant

THE impact of a lightning strike which caused the roof of a semi-detached house in Shotley Gate to burst into flames and collapse was felt by people nearly five miles away.

Firefighters from Suffolk and Essex were mobilised to the property in Kirkton Close at about 4pm yesterday after the alarm was raised by people living in the area.

It is understood that people were inside the building at the time but nobody was injured in the incident.

Neighbours described hearing a bang and a flash of light when the house was hit.

Ian Lord, 43, of Kirkton Close, said: “I was in the back garden and I heard a few claps of thunder and then a very big bang.

“I noticed there was smoke coming from the house and I checked to make sure nobody was in the house.

“We all got some hose pipes and tried to put it out but the wind was too much and the roof was well alight.

“The main thing is everyone is out and everyone is safe, it’s a case of what you can salvage.”

Mr Lord added that firefighters arrived on scene about 15 minutes after the incident happened.

Crews from Holbrook and Princes Street were initially mobilised but further crews were called for later including an aerial ladder pump from Essex.

A spokeswoman for Suffolk Fire and Rescue Service said they had to work from outside the house because it was too dangerous for them to go inside.

The property next door was also slightly affected by the blaze but crews worked to contain it and it is not expected to have suffered much damage.

The strike was heard by people up to five miles away from the scene and others have described seeing smoke billowing from the property.

Jack Whelan, 70, of Kirkton Close, said: “There was a lot of lightning here. I was driving along the road at about 3.30pm and you could see them all the way.

“It was a pretty violent storm. It was just an absolute freak accident.”

Nathaniel Mullett, also of Kirkton Close, was working in Chelmondiston at the time.

He said: “It was an intense storm and it came over very quickly.

“I was working five miles down the road and I heard it from there.”

The blaze took about two hours to finally bring under control.


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