AN UNLUCKY mother learned lightning can strike twice after she was the victim of a second thunderbolt.
Two families were evacuated after lightning struck a semi-detached house in Rufford Close, Barton Seagrave, sparking a serious loft fire during a freak hail shower yesterday afternoon.
It was second time unlucky for Jo Hefford, who lives in the adjoining house. Her previous home in nearby Woodland Avenue was struck by lightning about 15 years ago.
The mum, who fled as the burning loft next door filled her home with smoke, said: “I can’t believe it.
“They say lightning never strikes twice, but it does.”
The lightning struck at about 5.30pm blowing a three-foot wide hole in the roof and starting the fire, which took 15 firefighters to tackle.
Miss Hefford, who was at home when it hit, said: “It was just like a bomb going off.
“I thought I saw a flash in my living room.”
Keith McCarlie, 72, was convalescing after a heart operation next door when it struck the roof above him.
He fled as the flames burned through his family’s possessions in the loft and is now recovering at his granddaughter’s house on the Ise Lodge Estate.
His son Matthew, 45, who also lives at the house with his pregnant wife and youngest son, rushed home as soon as he heard.
Speaking as firefighters piled their burnt belongings on their drive, he said: “I was pretty worried. I didn’t know where he was.”
Fire crews from stations in Kettering, Burton Latimer and Wellingborough attended the fire as many residents seeing the billowing smoke reported it.
Two firefighters in breathing masks used a hose to contain the loft fire in the McCarlie house.
Two more went into Miss Hefford’s property to make sure only smoke came through.
The McCarlie’s boiler burst, causing water damage, and firefighters cut off the electricity, gas and water to the house.
Shane Anderson, manager of Kettering Fire Station, who was incident commander, said: “The house was struck by lightning, causing a fire in the loft space.
“It was quite a severe fire.
“The boiler pipe was affected and there was quite a lot of water in the house.
“There is quite considerable damage. There was quite a lot of stuff in there.”
Mr McCarlie said: “It’s just a nightmare trying to do an inventory and getting it sorted.
“I’m not sure we will be able to stay there at the minute.”