Lucky escape for Leeds family as lightning bolt sparks house blaze in freak accident

The Robinson family - Andy, Libby, six, Amy, nine, and Michelle outside their home.
The Robinson family - Andy, Libby, six, Amy, nine, and Michelle outside their home.
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A LEEDS family had a lucky escape after their house was struck by a lightning bolt, causing it to burst into flames.

The Robinson family was wathing the storm from the living room window at their home in Garforth when they heard ‘a huge crash’.

The house  in Garforth, Leeds, which was struck by a lightning bolt.

The house in Garforth, Leeds, which was struck by a lightning bolt.

The plugs sparked and they were plunged into darkness after the freak incident.

After seeing smoke, they quickly fled the house.

Parents Michelle and Andy Robinson, their two daughters aged six and nine and pet dog Fritz fled to a neighbour’s home.

Dad Andy, 45, said: “There was a large flash, like a sheet of lightning, and a huge crash and bang.

050416  Burnt personal items on the lawn in front of the home of the Robinson family in Garforth, Leeds,  which was struck by a lightening bolt. (GL1009/55c)

050416 Burnt personal items on the lawn in front of the home of the Robinson family in Garforth, Leeds, which was struck by a lightening bolt. (GL1009/55c)

“I could hear crackling and thought it was hail but realised it was actually fire because the back garden was full of smoke.”

Michelle, 41, added: “The children were terrified and the dog was shaking like a leaf.”

Family photographs, children’s toys and other sentimental items were lost in blaze at the semi-detached home, where they have lived for almost a decade. Michelle aded: “We just can’t believe it. But as long as the children are alright, the rest is just bricks and mortar.”

The family praised the work of local firefighters, hailing them ‘heroes’ after crews arrived on the scene in minutes.

The house  in Garforth, Leeds,  which was struck by a lightning bolt.

The house in Garforth, Leeds, which was struck by a lightning bolt.

“If they hadn’t got here as quickly as they did, the house wouldn’t be here – and neither would the neighbours’,” added Michelle.

“The kids made them a card to say thank you – they are their heroes.”

The family home, which had recently been redecorated, was left with a hole in the roof and extensive damage to the loft.

Michelle added: “We’re not sure what the chances of getting struck by lightning are, but my husband said we’re definitely playing the lottery this week.”

The loft, which was completely destroyed in the blaze.

The loft, which was completely destroyed in the blaze.

Watch manager Simeon Bambrook, of West Yorksire Fire and Rescue Service, said: “The storm came so quickly and the lightning was spectacular.

“We believe it was lightning that caused the fire.”

When asked about being labelled ‘heroes’, he added: “It is just part of the job.”

Two fire engines from Garforth and Killingbeck attended the scene at around 4.20pm on April 4.

Partick Whelan and Gareth Hayes.

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