Unlucky 13 as lightning bolt strikes house

BOLT FROM THE BLUE: Gail Bushell at her home in York Road, which was stuck by lightning, with pet Milly.
BOLT FROM THE BLUE: Gail Bushell at her home in York Road, which was stuck by lightning, with pet Milly.
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The rumbles of thunder were growing louder and cracks of lightning brighter as Gail Bushell lay awake in her Sudbury home.

Accompanied in bed by pet border terrier Milly, who was whimpering under the covers, the pair braced themselves for the next instalment of what the storm had to offer.

But Mrs Bushell, who lives in York Road, was not prepared for the “nightmare situation” she was about to encounter as against odds of thousands to one her home was struck by lightning.

“There were some massive cracks of lightning and then a loud bang,” she said.

“I have never heard anything so loud and that was the lightning hitting the roof.”

The bolt, which contained around one hundred million electrical volts and hit at 4.05am last Monday, damaged cables and knocked the home’s television aerial off the roof, narrowly missing a car parked in the road.

All the light bulbs in the house were blown.

Firefighters were called to ensure the building was safe.

“When I rang the fire service I was told to get out of the house as it could be dangerous, but I did not want to go outside,” said Mrs Bushell, who has lived in York Road for 21 years.

“In the end I stayed indoors and had to coax Milly out from under the bed where she was hiding. She doesn’t like fireworks and this was a lot worse and was very frightening.”

The lightning strike left Mrs Bushell without any electricity, telephone line and internet and damaged the roof. Nine other homes in the street were also affected.

Despite the damage and Mrs Bushell’s insurance company classing her as an urgent case an assessor was not sent to look at her home until Tuesday.

“I had lots of things to sort out and that did not help,” she said.

“But my neighbours and friends have been really supportive and one of my neighbours even came down in his girlfriend’s dressing gown to check I was ok after it happened.”

Mrs Bushell said after her experiences she wanted to warn people to take precautions and unplug aerials if a storm was forecast in future.

“I never expected the house to get hit by lightning and was just getting used to the loud thunder,” she said.

“It brought some excitement to York Road for a few minutes and I suppose it had to be me as I live at number 13.”