Lightning strike in Hereford
Hereford & Worcester Fire and Rescue Service (HWFRS) was first alerted to the incident at 3.15pm with a smell of burning reported in one block of flats. Two fire appliances from Hereford were dispatched to the incident, but on hearing that the roof of a second block of flats in the road had been struck by lightning, further pumps from Hereford and Fownhope plus the Aerial Ladder Platform also attended.
Watch Commander Adrian Morris from HWFRS said: "This was a difficult incident to manage initially. As crews arrived in Genstall Close, they were approached by concerned residents from the nearby houses who were reporting smoke coming from their phone and electrical sockets. With four crews at the scene, we had the resources we needed in place and we were quickly able to establish that the lightning strike had damaged the roof and top flat in one block of flats and affected the electrics and phone sockets in the other flats and houses nearby."
Crews evacuated the flats and houses while they checked the wiring and electrics, and used the height of the Aerial Ladder Platform to assess the damage to the roof of the flats.
One man, who had been sat in the top floor flat when the lightning bolt struck, was cared for by paramedics at the scene and later taken to hospital. He is not believed to have been seriously injured. Two other residents were also checked by ambulance personnel.
WC Morris said that there was significant damage to the top flat, with a 3m x 3m hole in the gable end of the roof. Phone and electric sockets in the flat had been blown off the wall during the incident and chunks of plasterboard had also come away from the wall.
Western Power, a structural engineer from the council and a roofer appointed by the letting agents from the flats also attended the incident. The top flats will need repair and re-wiring following the incident but most of the residents in the road were allowed back into their properties by around 7pm.