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By Tristan Harris Monday 16 June 2014 Updated: 19/06 01:36
THE OWNERS of a house in Blackwell have paid tribute to their neighbours, daughter and firefighters after their home was struck by lightning and caught fire while they were on holiday.
Astrid Evans spoke to The Standard earlier this week after the incident which happened last Saturday (June 7) in Foxes Close while she and her husband Colin were in Italy.
She said: "We were travelling from Lake Missouri to Lake Como when we received a call to say the house was on fire after being struck by lightning.
"We were going to get the first flight home but my daughter convinced us to stay out there because there was nothing we could do and our home was inhabitable."
There was a hole in the roof where the lightning had struck, one of the ceilings had collapsed and there was no electricity upstairs or downstairs. The strike had also taken out the TV and Internet connections for the whole street.
"After putting out the blaze, the firefighters had gone through the house with a local electrician and isolated everything and, the firefighters said, if it was not for the quick-thinking neighbours who called them straight away, the whole house would have gone up
"We cannot thank the firefighters and our neighbours and daughter Sarah enough for the way they rallied round," added Astrid.
The house had just undergone a complete redevelopment which began in January and was only completed two weeks prior to the strike.
Every room had been decorated and all the carpets were new.
But, said Astrid, it could have been a lot worse.
"If we were in the house at the time, I dread to think what would have happened.
"Also, at the weekend, our grandchildren, who are six and nine, sometimes have a sleepover and the ceiling that collapsed would have been the one in the room where they usually are.
"What would have happened if they had been here does not bear thinking about."
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