GAS fires were ‘blown out’ and two bedrooms caught fire when a row of houses in Chichester was hit by lightning today (Thursday, May 22).
Tracey Gilbert, whose parents own the house which was struck in Mumford Place, Whyke, said the strike hit the chimney causing the gas fires to blow out and two upstairs bedrooms to catch fire.
“It has completely blown out,” she said.
“The neighbour heard it and he rushed in because he thought my brother was in bed.”
Tracey’s brother, Tim, normally works nights but, luckily, was not in at the time of the strike.
Nor were his parents, Val and Glyn Gilbert, who own the house.
Tracey’s niece Jennifer Lamont, who was walking past, was thrown off her feet.
Ten minutes later she would have been inside the house with her child.
Immediately following the strike, several people rushed into the house to make sure no one was inside.
Nathan Thair was one of those who rescued Val and Glyn’s four dogs.
“It was the scariest experience I ever had in my life,” he said.
All the houses in the cul-de-sac were evacuated.
A parrot was also retrieved from the house by rescuers.
Police officers, paramedics and firefighters were all at the scene.