Swift response to lightning strike

PUBLISHED: 12:42 01 September 2006 | UPDATED: 22:10 28 May 2010

WHEN lightning struck three council houses in Pondersbridge on Tuesday night Fenland Council moved swiftly to marshall emergency services to help the occupants. Three houses in a row on Ramsey Road, Pondersbridge, took a direct hit, blowing the electricit

WHEN lightning struck three council houses in Pondersbridge on Tuesday night Fenland Council moved swiftly to marshall emergency services to help the occupants.

Three houses in a row on Ramsey Road, Pondersbridge, took a direct hit, blowing the electricity supply and damaging the roof of two homes.

A lightning bolt appears to have entered the roof of one house and exited through the roof of the next door property. The lightning blew the back off one roof, causing ceilings to collapse, and blew a hole in the second roof. It also struck a water stopcock and caused some localised flooding in the garden of a third home.

The council was called at about 5.20pm and in less than two hours, it had mobilised electricians, plumbers and surveyors to carry out running repairs and to assess the extent of the damage.

With the considerable distances and remoteness of many communities in Fenland, the council has a two-hour response time standard for emergencies.

The strike caused considerable shock and anxiety, quite apart from the damage, and occupants in two of the homes moved out while repairs are completed.

The council found a housing association home in Whittlesey for one resident and his son and have offered bed and breakfast accommodation until the housing association property can be made ready in a week's time.

The man's Ramsey Road home will take several weeks to repair.

In the second home, a mother with four children has opted to move in with her mother. However, if accommodation becomes too cramped, the council has offered to provide alternative bed and breakfast accommodation until the works have been completed in about one week.

A senior council officer visited all three affected homes and spoke with residents. To make their lives easier, he became their single point of contact for any issues that may arise out of the incident.

Councillor Kit Owen, portfolio holder for housing, said: "We always do our best to ensure that our out-of-hours service provides as swift a service as possible. I am glad these residents were able to receive sympathetic support and practical help within two hours.

"We have set a two hour response standard and on this occasion we were able to deliver on our pledge.

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