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Family's miracle escape as home is hit by lightning

A DUBLIN family whose house was struck by a bolt of lightning had a lucky escape after damage costing €10,000 was done to their home.

A bolt of lightning struck the home of Multiple Sclerosis (MS) sufferer Bernadette Byrne, knocking the chimney clean off the house and damaging her son's bedroom walls.

Bernadette (50) was without heating for five days as temperatures plummeted, and she now has to stuff duvets up her chimney to insulate the house from harsh draughts.



Sensitive

Dublin City Council responded to the family's urgent plea on December 1 and fixed the heating system at the house in Cromcastle Green, Coolock, but Bernadette is still hugely sensitive to the cold due to her illness.

The power was also knocked out as a result of the lightning strike, but it has since been fixed by the ESB, and appliances including the washing machine, TV and computer were also damaged.

She told the Herald: "The house got it bad, it hit all of the electrical stuff in the house and there were two big holes in the wall.

"There are still parts of the chimney in the front and back garden. It still won't be fixed until after Christmas I think."

She stressed: "There's an awful draught coming in. I have had to put a duvet in the chimney to block the draught. I have MS and I'm constantly cold."

A spokesperson from Dublin City Council said the heating was repaired on Tuesday of last week -- ten days after the incident occurred -- and the chimney will be repaired by this weekend, weather permitting.

The repairs will cost €10,000, and a complete renewal of the chimney stack and internal plastering works are needed, she explained.

Meanwhile, Bernadette said: "I could hear the thunder and see the lightning through the bedroom window, it was some bang, I didn't know what was happening. I was devastated."

She added: "I thought I smelt something burning and fair play, the Fire Brigade came straight away and checked out the attic. It also blew the electricity and the ESB were out straight away the next morning."

Bernadette's two sons James (32) and Karl (27) were also in the house when the lightning struck, but no one was hurt in the incident.

hnews@herald.ie


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