A FAMILY whose home has been wrecked by a fierce fire after it was hit by a lightning bolt during a storm have spoken about their lucky escape.
Christine Brooks, 65, and her son Liam, 30, live at an end terraced house on Garths End in Haxby which was engulfed by fire after the lightning strike on Friday evening.
Hair salon owner Christine had just walked into the kitchen after cutting the grass in the garden when the lightning bolt hit their home.
Plumbing and heating engineer Liam, who had left the house about 20 minutes earlier to go to a restaurant drive-through, said: “She said there was a bright white flash, and when she opened her eyes, the house was on fire.
“She said it was absolutely silent. Just a bright flash.
“She was very lucky to get out. To see my mum safe when I got home was instant relief.”
Christine began throwing out the cushions on her sofa to try and stop the fire spreading but quickly realised it was the whole house that was ablaze and got out.
A neighbour called 999 and five fire crews arrived to tackle the blaze.
Christine was left with singed hair and burns to her hands.
Fortunately, a few hours before the fire Liam had dropped off his two-year-old son at his ex-wife’s home.
“Thank god he wasn’t in bed in the bedroom,” Liam said.
He added: “My mum is safe and son is safe. That is all I’m bothered about. You can replace objects but you can’t replace people.
“Obviously we’re still devastated by what has happened.”
Explaining how he found out about the fire, Liam said: “I was sat at a restaurant drive-through waiting for my tea with my girlfriend.
“My neighbour rang. They said ‘Where are you? Your house is on fire!’ We thought they were joking. We raced home and it was.
“There were police vans and fire engines, it looked like a war zone. People were stood on the street. Most importantly everyone made sure mum was alright. I can’t thank people enough that while I wasn’t there they were making sure she was ok.
“I want to thank my friend Chris for running round to make sure my mum and son were out of the house.”
The fire tore through the house, causing the roof to collapse and severely damaging every room.
Liam said a neighbour witnessed the lightning bolt hitting the house.
Following the blaze, his ex-wife Claire launched a fundraising campaign to help the family restore their belongings which were all destroyed.
By Sunday afternoon, it had raised well over £12,000.
Liam said: “I can’t believe the generosity of people. It is just amazing. It gives you faith in humanity.”
Christine and Liam are working closely with the insurance company while they investigate the situation, and have been given temporary accommodation.
Neighbours have spoken of their shock following the huge fire.
Ellie Crouch commented: “It was really bad. I was shocked. It was just crazy.
“I heard a bang. I was in my room at the back. I just thought it was thunder and lightning. I didn’t realise the whole house had gone up in flames.”
Another neighbour, who does not want to be named, described hearing a “massive crack” a couple of minutes before her son came running to her saying there was a house on fire.
She explained: “The flames were coming through the windows and through the roof. There was thick black smoke.
“It was just a shock.”