Chimney falls after lightning strike

A LIGHTNING strike has led to an unusual insurance claim for an Ipswich man today after a chimney landed on his family car.Tony Fox, 57, was at his home in Belvedere Road when freak weather caused bricks to rain down on to his drive.

A LIGHTNING strike has led to an unusual insurance claim for an Ipswich man today after a chimney landed on his family car.

Tony Fox, 57, was at his home in Belvedere Road when freak weather caused bricks to rain down on to his drive.

The lightning bolt had hit next-door at the home of Jamie Procter and Julia Cook on Wednesday evening.

The couple has only lived in their house for five weeks and Mr Procter was decorating in the kitchen when the lightning bolt struck.

He said: "We are doing the kitchen and I went to touch up the wall with paint and the whole place lit up blue.

"There is a socket underneath where I was painting but it is not connected yet.

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"My partner was upstairs, it was really hot and she thought we had been hit by lightning.

"My neighbour (Mr Fox) was on his landing and was pointing up at the roof.

"The back door was ajar and I could see smoke coming past – I thought I had blown the house up even though the power was not connected."

At that point Mr Fox was unaware that 30 bricks has fallen from the roof onto his silver Fiat Tempo, smashing the front and back windscreens and denting the car.

It was Mr Procter who discovered the damage and sheepishly informed his new neighbour.

But Mr Fox took the news well and is grateful no one was injured.

He said: "I was in the front room on the computer and I jumped like a maniac.

"There was a tremendous big bang and flash.

"I picked up a brick from the lawn and it was red hot. There were bricks everywhere.

"Half an hour before my car was sitting nearly behind the one that was hit and my wife and daughter were going shopping. I could have lost my other car and potentially half of my family as well."

And Mr Procter, 33, also saw it as a lucky escape.

He added: "Stupidly I went up in the loft – if it had been on fire I would have got burnt or it could have got struck again.

"Being hit by lightning is a really weird experience like stepping off a plane – there is a dry heat and the atmosphere around you has just changed."

Meanwhile, weather experts have launched an investigation into the freak storms which battered Ipswich with lightening and hailstones.

The Tornado and Storm Research Organisation (TORRO), based at Oxford Brookes University, is urging people who can provide details or pictures of the size of the hailstones to contact them at PO Box 84, Oxford, OX1 4NP or visit www.torro.org.uk.

N Have you been a victim of the weather? Write to us at Evening Star Letters, 30 Lower Brook Street, Ipswich IP4 1AN or e-mail eveningstarletters@eveningstar.co.uk.

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