Young family flees home after lightning strike 'like an explosion' destroys roof
A young father rushed his wife and children to safety after a lightning strike set their house on fire yesterday.
Their early-hours escape came at the height of one of the biggest electrical storms ever witnessed over Ireland's south coast.
The Cork family was awoken by the sound of a loud bang shortly after 1am.
The father quickly realised that the roof of their two-storey home outside Ballymacoda had just been struck by lightning.
He rushed his wife and their two children, a toddler and a four-year-old, to the safety of a neighbour's house and rang Cork Fire Brigade.
Four units from Youghal and Midleton raced to the scene and fought the blaze at the property, a short distance from the popular seaside town of Youghal.
Locals paid tribute to the fire brigade personnel who fought the blaze at the height of the storm.
There was torrential rain, thunder and lightning throughout the area along the Cork-Waterford border.
"Great credit to them - they fought that blaze despite the storm," one local man said.
"From what I heard this morning in the village, the lightning strike was like an explosion on the roof.
"It caused a lot of damage to the roof and that's where they believe the fire started and then spread to the upper part of the house."
A water tanker unit was later dispatched from Cork city to support the four local units as they battled the blaze.
The fire was brought under control around 3am but was not finally extinguished until around 7am.
Substantial damage was caused both to the roof and upper floor of the property.
However, no one was injured in the fire thanks to the quick thinking of the young father in rushing his family to safety.
Locals said yesterday that the family was very shocked by the ordeal.
Engineers will today assess the extent of the damage to the property, which is understood to have only recently been refurbished.
The electrical storm was one of the biggest witnessed over Cork, Kerry and Waterford in recent years.
Lightning strikes also caused problems with the electrical network across the south-west of the country.
The ESB confirmed it was attending to a number of line faults which were linked to the overnight storm.
The faults are mainly in the Killeagh, Castlemartyr and Youghal areas, where the concentration of lightning strikes was greatest.
The storm was so violent it woke many people across the south-east and south-west, and the torrential downpour meant there was localised flooding in some areas.
In the UK, lightning strikes which hit Stansted Airport in Essex caused problems for Irish travellers yesterday.
Dozens of flights there were delayed or cancelled because of damage to a refuelling system at the airport.