'It's utter carnage' - Bungalow roof explodes after being struck by lightning
PUBLISHED: 08:18 19 June 2019 | UPDATED: 08:25 20 June 2019
A lightning strike that caused an explosion in a bungalow has robbed a family of their home after thunderstorms in Suffolk overnight.
The family living in a bungalow all escaped unharmed but were left badly shaken by the ordeal that happened around 1am Wednesday, June 19.
The bang the strike caused was said to be so loud it woke up most of the local community.
Andy Harrington, who had been inside the bungalow at the time of the strike, told the BBC: "It's just utter carnage, it's like a bomb's gone off really. It's soul destroying.
"There's no roof inside either, there's no ceilings, there's nothing.
"The inside of the house is trashed, I don't know where we are going to go for now.
Mr Harrington added: "There was just a really loud noise and my daughter woke up so I went to see if she was okay. There was smoke everywhere, so we just had to get out really.
"My daughter is quite calm but she's not seen the house yet and I don't really want her to."
Five pumps attended the fire in Shotley, with two hose reels, one jet and an aerial ladder used to dowse the flames.
The area of weather moved into the county from the south late last night, bringing with it some loud claps of thunder and dramatic flashes of lightning.
Up to 10mm of rain was recorded in parts of Suffolk as well as lightning strikes on houses.
The fire service was called out twice to reports of houses being hit by lightning - one incident happening at about 1am at a bungalow in Shotley.
Fire crews were also sent out to a property in Main Road in Tuddenham St Martin, but the home did not catch fire.
Mr Harrington added: "We managed to salvage a few bits but we haven't got a lot.
"We were lucky it was such a loud bang or this could have been a whole lot worse."
The bungalow is rented by Mr Harrison and owned by Suffolk Housing, a housing association based in Bury St Edmunds.
Anne Brighton, operations director for Suffolk Housing, said: "We were sorry to hear of this incident and pleased that no one was hurt. Members of our teams are on site today to assess matters and liaise with residents.
"We are also speaking with the affected customers to make the necessary arrangements while repair work takes place."
Jo Baker, who lives directly opposite, said that she was woken by a loud bang in the early houses of the morning.
She said: "It was the loudest band you have ever heard. I came out because I thought that we had been hit and it was then I saw smoke coming out of the roof of the house opposite.
"The gentleman who lives there grabbed his daughter and came rushing out of the house.
"The scariest part was that the chap next door is disabled and he was still asleep, so everyone was trying to break down the door and smash the window to get in.
"It was frightening how high the flames were and how hot everything was.
"Everybody wanted to help trying to get the chap next door out of his house. It was amazing and that says it all about village life and Shotley."
Speaking to the BBC, station commander Simon Hirst, who attended the fire in Shotley, said: "The storm continued while we were at the bungalow fire last night.
"When the first crew turned up there was a severe fire in the roof of the bungalow. The lightning had struck the TV aerial, which had also caused an explosion in the roof.
"The explosion was bigger than the fire which had blown some of the tiles from the roof, so we had to move the rest out of the way to extinguish the hotspots in the roof.
"There was a gentleman in the property and a man in the property next door who were both unharmed at the scene."
The neighbour was taken to hospital by paramedics as a precaution.
Phil Garner, forecaster for Weatherquest, said: "We had an area of thunder and heavy rain come from France through the south of England and into Essex and Suffolk.
"The worst and most dramatic strikes were seen on the east coast but we also heard quite a few rumbles of thunder across Suffolk as well.
"We could see some more thunder and lightning as well later today as another band of weather moves through the east."