Leeds family flee after bolt of lightning sets their home ablaze

The house  in Garforth, Leeds, which was struck by a lightning bolt.
The house in Garforth, Leeds, which was struck by a lightning bolt.
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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 watching the storm at home when they heard ‘a huge crash’.

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.

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.

Mr Robinson, 45, said: “There was a large flash, like a sheet of lightning, and a huge crash.

The loft, which was completely destroyed in the blaze.

The loft, which was completely destroyed in the blaze.

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

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

Photographs, children’s toys and other sentimental items were lost in blaze at the family home, where they have lived for almost a decade.

Mrs Robinson added: “We just can’t believe it. But as long as the children are alright, the rest is just bricks and mortar.”

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

“If they hadn’t got here as quickly as they did, the house wouldn’t be here,” Mrs Robinson added. “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 we’re definitely playing the lottery this week.”

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)

Watch manager Simeon Bambrook, of West Yorkshire Fire and Rescue Service, said they believed it was lightning that caused the fire. When asked about being labelled ‘heroes’, he added: “It is just part of the job.”