WEST Tweed residents Hazel Coyne (left) and Joyce McCauley ponder what could have been.
WEST Tweed residents Hazel Coyne (left) and Joyce McCauley ponder what could have been.

Lightning strike sparks unit fire

By ROXANNE MILLAR

WEST Tweed senior Joyce McCauley was enjoying a warm and soothing cup of coffee yesterday morning when a shuddering blast catapulted her out of a silent reverie.

The 89-year-old's tiny unit was struck by lightning in a fierce storm at 6.30am, which shook the Kennedy Drive building to its core and sparked a dangerous fire in one of the units.

The lightning blew up the electrical cables in Mrs McCauley's roof, igniting a small blaze, while a powerbox outside was jolted violently from its wall.

"I thought we were all going to go down," Mrs McCauley said. "I knew something had been struck but I didn't realise it was on top of my house.

"Then suddenly I heard the man next door yelling at me to get out because there was smoke coming from the roof."

The quick-thinking neighbour called the fire brigade, which acted quickly to stop the fire in the ceiling from causing much damage.

"You couldn't smell it but once you got out the back it smelt like plastic burning," Mrs McCauley said.

"Everything happens to me but I was really very lucky Luke next door was around. He is the kind of man who would do anything for you."

The sprightly senior was yesterday trying to calm her nerves.

"I am still shaking. I tried to call my son to tell him what happened but I was shaking so much I was doubling up the numbers, so I gave up for a while," she said.

Next-door neighbour Hazel Coyne was on-hand yesterday to support Mrs McCauley and her nerves, even though she also was quite shocked.

"I was up when it happened and felt the whole place shudder. A lamp flew up in the air," she said.

"It was all a bit airy scary. The poor cat nearly had a heart attack.

"It came as a surprise because I had been listening to the thunder away in the background but had still turned the TV off and unplugged it.

"There was a lot of lightning so I didn't want to go outside at all."

The West Tweed block of flats were without power yesterday, and residents were unable to tell if any damage had been done to their appliances.



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