Page last updated at 14:10 GMT, Friday, 19 June 2009 15:10 UK

Evacuation after lightning strike

The lightning strike set fire to a roof and caused severe damage

A family has been left temporarily homeless after lightning struck the roof of their house in Greater Manchester, setting it alight.

The forked lightning hit the roof of the townhouse on Oakwood Lane in Altrincham on Thursday night.

Owner Lorraine Jacob said she heard a loud crack and gushing of water before looking outside to see all of her neighbours standing outside.

The strike burst water pipes, blew the electrics and set fire to the roof.

Mrs Jacob told the BBC she was preparing for her daughter's return from New York when she heard a very loud bang at about 2200 BST.

'Very close'

She said: "I'm not normally afraid of lightning but I thought 'that's hit something'.

"Although it was very close I didn't realise it was my own home.

"The roof has collapsed and all the bedrooms are damaged. The weight of the water is going to come down through the next level because it's three storeys."

Mrs Coppola said she did not realise her house had been struck

About 30 people were moved from their homes because of a risk the flames could have spread to neighbouring properties.

Station commander Paul Etches said: "Lightning hitting a house and causing a major fire is extremely unusual.

"Luckily no one was injured but it has caused substantial damage to the roof and the top floor of the woman's property."

More than 20 firefighters tackled the fire when it was at its height, and some of the residents have since been able to return to their homes.

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