Lucky escape for couple as lightning wrecks house in Britton Gardens, Kingswood
AN off-duty fireman had the shock of his life when lightning struck his house moments before he arrived home.
Tony Dicorato was on his way back from Sunday dinner at his parents' house in Hanham when a lightning bolt tore through his home, blowing radiators and power sockets off the walls.
The chimney on the three-storey house in Britton Gardens, Kingswood, was shattered, showering debris across the street and leaving a gaping hole in the roof.
Cars parked outside the house had their windows smashed and bonnets splintered by falling bricks and tiles but, amazingly, nobody was hurt.
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Four fire crews from around the city – including Speedwell, where Tony is based – attended the incident, which neighbours described as "terrifying".
Witnesses told The Post that a blinding white light was accompanied by an enormous bang, causing vibrations which were felt across the surrounding area.
Tony and his girlfriend Hayley Williams arrived soon afterwards to find his colleagues already on the scene.
The 29-year-old, who had been planning to move out of the house next Friday and rent the property out, told The Post: "We were going to come back a little earlier but we decided to stay for cheesecake – and it's lucky we did.
"Just as we were leaving I got a phone call from someone at the station, saying there's been an accident at the house.
"By the time we got here the damage all around looked quite bad.
"It's lucky no-one was injured."
Tony, who has been a fireman for six years, said he has now been nicknamed "Lucky" at work.
He added: "I have never seen anything like this in all my career and none of the boys had either."
Ross Taylor, 20, a Circomedia student living two doors down from Tony, was cooking when the lightning struck metres away.
He said: "It felt terrifying.
"There was just a white flash, a massive noise and you couldn't see anything.
"You could really feel it in your stomach.
"The sound was huge and it felt like it came right through you.
"All the lights went off and everything went black.
"We looked outside and could see everyone coming out of their houses.
"Everyone was at home but Tony was the only one out at the time."
One neighbour, who asked not to be named, said he thought a bomb had gone off.
He said: "I thought it was a car bomb or something. I couldn't believe the noise.
"When I went outside I found my car smashed with rubble splintered in the bonnet."
Mike Santigao-Griggs, who lives two doors away from Mr Dicorato, said his sockets were also blown out across the room. He said he had been told the noise was heard in Hanham.
Avon Fire and Rescue Service spokesman Darren Bane said crews from Temple, Kingswood, Speedwell and Avonmouth were called out just before 7.45pm.
Firemen were at the scene for four-and-a-half hours, using a hydraulic platform to provide lighting and to help remove potentially-dangerous rubble from the roof.
Heavy salvage sheets and a thermal imaging camera were also used.
The electricity supply to the property was directly affected and several neighbouring homes were disrupted.
Mr Bane said the lighting strike had not caused a fire.
He said: "The force of the lightning was enough to cause the damage to the roof."