Braintree family flees lightning-hit house
A father whose home was struck by lightning says the ceiling collapsed on one of his children's bedrooms minutes after the family fled the house.
A bolt struck the roof of father-of-four Darren Hobson's semi-detached house in Braintree, Essex, just before 02:00 BST, causing a large fire.
He said his bedroom lit up blue and when he went to investigate, the house lights burst and he could see flames.
He praised firefighters who arrived quickly to bring it under control.
"There were two really loud bangs in quick succession and our bedroom just lit up blue, and I was lying there just thinking 'that was really, really close'," said Mr Hobson.
"My wife was comforting my daughter and I thought I'd check on my twins... so I flicked the light on and the light in the middle of the room just exploded, and all the lights going across the hallway started popping one after the other.
"I was ducking down because they were blowing and I just looked up and I could see flames in the loft through the light fixtures.
"I grabbed my twins one under each arm, my wife grabbed my five-year-old and then my 13-year-old followed us down and I just ran down the stairs. I had my neighbours banging on the door telling us to, 'come on, out, out, out'."
Mr Hobson said five minutes later the roof caved in on one of his children's bedrooms and a wall collapsed on to a neighbour's car.
"It was amazing just how fast the fire took hold and destroyed the loft and the ceiling's come down," he said.
Essex Fire Service said four crews attended the blaze, which was put out just before 04:00 BST.