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'Lucky to be alive': Shrewsbury family's home hit by lightning - with video

By Keri Trigg | Shrewsbury | News | Published:

A Shrewsbury mother and her two children say they are thankful to be alive after their home was wrecked by a lightning strike.

Victoria Ireland looks at the damage to one of the bedrooms

Victoria Ireland’s rented house was ravaged by fire, flooding and electrical explosions caused by the strike on August 9.

But Victoria is just thankful that she and her eight-year-old son and five-year-old daughter were out for tea at the time, as she was later told by the fire service that they could have been electrocuted had they been at home.

The only member of the family who was in the house at the time, three-year-old King Charles Spaniel Heidi, was unharmed.

Freak lightning bolt damages Shropshire house

“We were having food at the Oxon Priory when we heard a loud bang,” Victoria said.

“Everything shook. I said we had better get home as the dog doesn’t like lightning, so thankfully we went home earlier than we would have done.

Victoria Ireland next to the scorch marks behind the TV

“At the house the box that covers the phone wires had blown off so there were wires all over the road, but there was no fire or anything from the outside.

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“I opened the door and water was pouring through the ceiling. I didn’t know what was going on so I ran upstairs and there was smoke in the bedrooms.

“I didn’t have a clue what had happened but I never thought it was lightning.”

A terrified Victoria called her brother who advised her to switch off the water, electricity and gas. It was only then that she contacted the fire service, and when they arrived at the house in Everley Close, Bicton Heath, they discovered what had caused the chaos.

A bolt of lightning had struck the TV aerial, sparking a fire in the attic and causing the phone lines to blow up along with electric items throughout the house including the fridge, washing machine and TV.

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“The fire service said we could have been electrocuted,” said Victoria.

“Over the summer my children have been on their devices, sometimes when they are on charge, and if they had been on them at the time they would have been electrocuted.

“They said we were very lucky.”

The water tank in the attic had also exploded, leaving a hole in Victoria’s bedroom ceiling, and water had rushed down through the house.

The freak incident left the family homeless, with the house uninhabitable and the tenancy voided due to an ‘Act of God’ clause in the rental agreement.

By chance Victoria had already given notice on the property and had another house ready to move into on September 8, but that has been brought forward so her children will be settled in by the start of the new school term. In the meantime they have been staying with family and friends.

However, the impending move had led Victoria to cancel her contents insurance policy, meaning she had no means of replacing the belongings that were destroyed, until the RAF Benevolent Fund stepped in to help.

Victoria now wants to thank the friends, family, neighbours and the charity who have rallied to support her and her children.

She added: “You don’t imagine lightning will strike your house.

“It has been a big shock for my children but we are hopefully going to be in our new house this week.

“The main thing is that we are just so lucky we were not at home.”

Keri Trigg

By Keri Trigg
Reporter - @KeriTrigg_Star

Senior reporter covering Shrewsbury and South Shropshire for the Shropshire Star.

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