Family's horror at lightning strike

VIDEO A family is today facing a month of being homeless after lightning hit their home, blowing its way through their roof into the room of a three-year-old.

A FAMILY is today facing a month of being homeless after lightning hit their home, blowing its way through their roof into the room of a three-year-old.

Kerrie-Anne Shaw told how there was an almighty bang before the house was plunged into darkness during Wednesday nights storms.

As she found her way through the pitch black to check on three-year-old Toby she felt rubble on his bed and could smell burning.

The 21-year-old told how she grabbed the tot and ran screaming from the house into the torrential rain.

As revealed in yesterday's Evening Star, the lightning had blown a six foot hole in the roof of their home in Wentworth Drive Ipswich.

The drama began at 11.30pm when Miss Shaw, 21, and her boyfriend Luke Driver, 22, were watching television and heard a sound like a “lorry crashing” upstairs.

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Lightning had hit the aerial on the roof, which affected the fuse box and cut the electricity supply. Roof tiles came crashing down and some fell through the house, bursting the water main, which led to water dripping through the ceiling.

Miss Shaw said: “I heard an almighty bang and all I could think of was getting my boy out. I didn't realise we had been hit.

“I went into his room, which was pitch black, and felt rubble on his bed. I could also smell burning. He wasn't making any noise as he was fast asleep. I started screaming and then grabbed him and was shouting for Luke.”

As she carried Toby out in the torrential rain, she spotted the lights on in surrounding houses and realised something had gone seriously wrong.

Hearing her cries, a neighbour came out and gave her and Toby a lift to her mother's house while Mr Driver waited for the firefighters to arrive.

A fire crew from Princes Street attended and although there was no fire, they called for assistance to help seal the six foot by four foot hole in the roof with tarpaulin. The incident was over by 1.15am.

The family will now stay with relatives.

Miss Shaw added: “I have not seen it yet so I don't know how bad the damage is. All I know is that the carpets are quite wet but I think it will be worse than that. I'm dreading seeing it again.

“I have always been very frightened of thunder and lightning and I will be even more afraid now.

“I will have to live in that house forever now because they say lightning never strikes in the same place twice.

“I want to thank the firefighters and also the neighbour that came out to help.”

Have you been affected by any adverse weather conditions? Write to Your Letters, Evening Star, 30 Lower Brook Street, Ipswich, IP4 1AN, or e-mail eveningstarletters@eveningstar.co.uk.