Family flee house after lightning strike

A FAMILY had terrifying wake up call today after a lightning bolt struck their cottage causing a wardrobe to burst into flames and blowing up plug sockets.

Simon Tomlinson

A FAMILY had terrifying wake up call today after a lightening bolt struck their cottage causing a wardrobe to burst into flames and blowing up plug sockets.

James and Lucy Evans Lombe were jolted awake when the electric bolt smashed into the side of their bedroom in the early hours of this morning engulfing them in a cloud of smoke.

But as Mrs Evans Lombe tried to escape the house with their two young children aged two and four, she realised they could not find the key to the front door.

Eventually it was located and the family escaped while, Mr Evans Lombe, 40, who works for the de Vere diamond company fought to put out the blaze in the bedroom.

Mrs Evans Lombe, 38, said: “There was the most enormous bang which everyone in this area would have heard.

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“We were in a sea of smoke and there were flames and we realised it wasn't just the burglar alarm that was annoying us.

“We couldn't see anything or find anything. At that point we realised there were other fires scattered about the house.”

Fire fighters arrived within ten minutes and scoured the house with smoke and heat detectors.

Luckily the fire did not take hold but today the couple of Greenway Cottage, Gosbeck were trying to get the electrics fixed.

The electricity had even jumped down a wire to an outbuilding which was being used by Mrs Evans Lombe as an office as she works from home as an investment banker.

Mrs Evans Lombe said: “We were extremely lucky that we were both here at the house, otherwise it may have burnt down to the ground.”

LAST night's electrical storms were the result of hot humid air flowing from France and Spain.

Evening Star weatherman Ken Blowers said: “Yesterday the temperature was 79f 26C.

“The storms moved in a north easterly direction across East Anglia, caused by a front of rain and storms moving across England from the south west last night.

“We should have four days where we can hear thunder in July and so far we've only had one day of thunder. The storms over night were the first thunder since May 1 so we've been quite free of thunder.”

Mr Blowers said East Anglia is an electrical storm hot spot.

He added: “Thunderstorms are not unusual in July and August. There are on average 900 storms in July and August the UK a year and the majority are in East Anglia.”

About a fifth of an inch, 0.21 inches, of rain fell with the storm last night.

Temperatures are expected to be cooler today, reaching 75F 24C. The outlook for the week is mainly dry with temperatures remaining high for July.

Mr Blowers added: “The average temperature for July is 70F 21C. There is always the risk of thunderstorms.”

Thunderstorms factfile:-

-100 people are killed by lightening in the US every year.

- On average in the UK six people are killed by lightening and 45 injured each year.

- Lightning strikes on people have declined in the blast 50 years as there are fewer agricultural workers in the fields of East Anglia.

- Lightning channel is under an inch wide but generates temperatures of 60,000F and a charge of up to 100million volts.

- One of the worst storms that affected Ipswich was on August 22 1987. 2.19 inches of rain fell in 45 minutes and giant hail stones dented the roves of cars.

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