Lightning strike sets house on fire




A BOLT of lightning set fire to a family home earlier today as a massive storm hit Merseyside.

The lightning hit the chimney stack of the Southport house shortly after 3.30am.

It travelled down the chimney and set fire to a mattress propped against the wall.

The flames then spread through the rest of the white detached house.

Five-year-old Lee Shephard and his parents Julie Shephard and Paul Thompson were in the house when it was hit.

Paul said: There was torrential rain and I was worried about flooding.

I was looking around the house checking for floods when there was an almighty bang.

I ran to get Lee out of bed and realised as we were running down the stairs that the spare room was on fire.

I instantly ran outside with Lee and Julie and called the fire brigade.

I tried to go back in to put the fire out myself but it was too big.

Paul added: We spent the last 12 months renovating the house. It was hard to see all that hard work go up in smoke.

We are counting ourselves very lucky though because when we were renovating we sometimes stayed in that spare room.

Firefighters, who received a further eight calls about the fire from residents in the area, spent almost two hours tackling the blaze.

The chimney stack on the house in Hey Farm, Crossings, was being demolished this morning by a cherry picker after it was declared unsafe.

The roof and first floor of the property were also severely damaged by fire and smoke.

Lee added: We have moved in temporarily with a neighbour and everyone has been really fantastic.

Heavy rain fell in isolated areas across the region overnight. More thunder and lightning is expected tonight and tomorrow.

THE ECHO