A young man playing with his PlayStation in an attic flat experienced some unexpected special effects when his roof was blasted by two bolts of lightning.
Jamie Brewer was playing a game on his TV in the early hours, when he suddenly saw a bright bolt of light and felt a surge go through his body.
Very soon after, he started to smell burning. His roof had caught fire after being struck by lightning.
The 23-year-old ran downstairs and knocked on his neighbours’ doors, and they all quickly made for the exit.
Jamie, from Swindon, said: “When we went outside, I could see our chimney had been hit. I could also see an orange glow in the roof, so I dialled 999.”
As fire-fighters tackled the emergency, Jamie was monitored by paramedics for half an hour before being given the all-clear.
By that time, a British Red Cross fire and emergency support (FES) team was already at the scene to support Jamie and eight others forced to leave the building.
Jamie recalled: “We went into the Red Cross vehicle and they gave us all hot teas and coffees. They did a really good job.
“If it wasn’t for them, we wouldn’t have known what to do next or where we were going to stay. It was so reassuring to have them around – it made a huge difference to us.”
FES volunteer Tony Hutchings attended the incident, along with fellow volunteers Nigel Lambden and Jo Riches.
Besides looking after the evacuees, the volunteer team worked with Swindon Borough Council to organise some emergency accommodation in a nearby hotel.
Tony said: “Our main job was to provide lots of emotional support and reassurance – it had been quite a shock for the residents – and explain to them what was going to happen next.
“We spent a lot of the night listening to people’s various concerns, then coming up with solutions to help them out. And with nine people, it was pretty full-on.”
He added: “I love volunteering for the Red Cross – it’s so rewarding and interesting.”
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