Disaster after freak storm

Douglas Hall outside his wrecked home (picture by George McLuskie)
Douglas Hall outside his wrecked home (picture by George McLuskie)
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A family from Kennoway has had a lucky escape after their house was struck by lightning, causing a fire to completely destroy much of the building.

Douglas and Maureen Hall are now coming to terms with the extent of the damage, which occurred during particularly bad storms last Tuesday morning.

Mr Hall, a retired insurance manager, had been watching the lightning just moments before his own home was struck.

“I was in the house on my own and had phoned my two daughters to check that everything was all right. My daughter Claire said all of her fuses had blown, and within a fewminutes, there was a loud crack and her phone socket was blown right out of the wall.”

Claire, whose home is right behind her parents, ran over to the house with son Jack and daughter Emily, and not long afterwards, there was a smell of smoke.

“I’m not sure when we were actually struck, because after the loud shock, there was a sound like a bulb bursting,” said Mr Hall.

“Claire was worried that it was her house on fire, but when she went out to check, she saw smoke coming out of the chimney.

“That’s when it dawned on me that there was a problem in the attic. I only opened thehatch a wee bit and the flames and smoke were already swirling about.”

The family rushed out, along with their standard poodle, Guinness, and two of Mrs Hall’s foster kittens, and quickly called the fire brigade.

“It felt like an eternity but as soon as we heard those sirens, we knew they were coming and it would be OK.”

Mrs Hall, a retired home care manager with Fife Council, had been visiting a friend at the time when daughter Claire phoned to tell her what had happened. “When she said the house had been struck by lightning and fire crews were there, I knew it was bad,” she said.

Station manager Steven Michie said: “This was a challenging incident, as the farm was situated in a remote location and we had to use the burn for an additional water supply.

“Crews were on scene until around 4.30p.m., dampening down the area and checking for potential hot spots.”

Forensic teams now believe the fire may have started after the lightning struck the flue for the central heating boiler.

After staying with their daughters, the couple now have permanent rented accommodation close by, which their insurance has covered. “Everythingis fine with the insurance,” said Mr Hall.

“They are 99 per cent sure the house will have to be demolished, so it could be up to 18 months before everything is rebuilt.”

Although they have lost many of their possessions, the couple say they’re determined to re-build and are just pleased everyone is safe.

“There were no ambulances called, everyone is alive. We are trying to stay positive because what can you do? Just sit in a corner and rock? We’ve had our bad days but we’re getting there,” said Mrs Hall.

The pair said everyone had been wonderful since the incident and, as well as fire crews, were keen to thank police for all their help and kindness.