Lightning strike believed to have started fire at family home in south London amid ‘scary’ thunderstorm

A “scary” thunderbolt striking the roof of a family home in south London is believed to have sparked a house fire.

Fire engines raced to the semi-detached home in Sidmouth Road, Welling as residents fled to safety at 7.40am on Tuesday.

Locals say that phone lines in the street have been knocked out by the thunderbolt as flash storms erupted after days of warm weather across the capital.

Footage posted to social media shows plumes of smoke billowing out of the roof as people in dressing gowns flee the house.

Smoke billows out of the roof (Noel Walsh)

Firefighters fought the blaze for more than an hour before getting it under control.

There are no injuries reported.

Noel Walsh was having a cup of tea in his conservatory when he saw the “scary” lightning bolt strike his neighbour’s house.

He told the Standard: “It was very loud. I’ve never seen anything like it.

Firefighters arrive at the scene (Noel Walsh)

Firefighters arrive at the scene (Noel Walsh)

“I looked out of my window and saw my neighbour who told me of the fire so I went out to see if I could be of any help.

“The people who owned the house were already in the street

“The homeowners were in a state of shock but other neighbours offered them assistance.”

He added: “At the end of the day the firemen did a great job as usual and there were no fatalities.”

One worker nearby said: “My daughter heard the bolt and looked out of the back window. There was a big thunder and then she saw the smoke coming out of the window.

“It’s very scary, I heard the thunder.”

Firefighters got the fire under control in just over an hour (Bruna Silva)

Firefighters got the fire under control in just over an hour (Bruna Silva)

Bruna Silva, 35, a parent at the local school, told the Standard: “We saw the strike this morning. We don’t have a view of the affected house from our place but our kid goes into the school.

“The fire was going off when we got there.”

“My first thought was that it could have hit the school. Apparently, there are no telephone lines at the moment as they have been affected by the strike.”

She added: “I’m feeling so glad no-one was hurt and it was before the school rush. We saw the flash, it was very bright and we heard the noise. Fire trucks were going by soon after then we notice the smoke.”

Story continues

A London Fire Brigade spokesman said the service “believed the fire may have been started by lightning striking the roof”.

He added: “Four fire engines and around 25 firefighters attended a fire on Sidmouth Road in Welling.

“The roof of a semi-detached house was partially damaged by fire. Residents had left the building before crews arrived and there are no reports of any injuries.

“Crews deployed a 32m Turntable Ladder as an observation platform. This allowed the Incident Commander to monitor the fire in the roof from above, whilst firefighters tackled it from inside.

“The Brigade’s 999 Control Officers took 7 calls reporting the fire, with the first received at 7.40am Firefighters had the incident under control by 8.57am Crews from Plumstead, Greenwich and Bexley attended the incident.”

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