Lightning sets bed ablaze

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David Bleach and pooch Smudge survey the damage. Below, the burnt bed.

A house on Winchmore Dromore Road, just north of Ashburton, was struck by lightning on Monday afternoon.

David Bleach, who runs a farm on the property, was working with a colleague in a shed out the back when the storm hit bringing a downpour of rain, thunder and lightning.

David said he heard his daughter Grace yelling what he thought was “house on fire”.

“So I came running over and she said ‘Dad the house is on fire!’ and she was calling the fire brigade at the same time.”

David was able to grab a fire extinguisher and put out the flames; the father and daughter’s quick actions saved the house.

“It was bloody lucky Grace was home because we wouldn’t have seen it from the shed until it was well involved,” David said.

When the lighting struck Grace was sitting in the dining room on her laptop studying for a university test happening that afternoon.

“The whole room lit up, then there was really loud thunder then the smoke alarms went off, and I realised there was a fire in the bedroom,” Grace said.

“I looked in the bedroom and could just see flames and I thought I’m not f…ing with that,” she said.

So she ran out to call for help.

The burnt bed.

Ashburton deputy chief fire officer Jeff Marshall said it was unclear exactly where the lightning hit the house.

“But it came out around a power socket that set fire to some bedding.

“Luckily the damage was minimal but it could have been a hell of a lot worse,” he said.

Lightning strikes on a house are uncommon, “but there was a lot of lightning in this area at the time, and the lighting picked an area of a house for whatever reason and then came out a socket.

Luckily Grace was here and saw it happen because it would have been a whole different story if no-one was home.”

Meanwhile Grace missed the test she was studying for, but feels having her house catch fire was a pretty good excuse.

By Daniel Tobin