A mum-of-two had a miracle escape after her house was struck by lightning which blew a hole in the roof and caused the bedroom wall to explode – just INCHES from where she was sleeping.
Joanne Emberso, 39, was in her metal-framed bed when the 300,000 volt lightning strike hit the TV aerial at her home in Fenton, Stoke-on-Trent, Staffs.
The powerful bolt blew a hole in the roof and ripped the plasterboard off the bedroom wall at around 8am on Saturday.
It also smashed a wardrobe mirror and filled the room with thick black smoke when it hit the house during freak storms that swept over Britain at the weekend.
Neighbours even described seeing a “fireball” above the house and the bang was heard from as far as two-miles away.
Startled Joanne rushed outside with her two daughters Elysha, 16, and Eve, 12, and pet dog Jasper and dialled 999.
Firefighters said it was a “miracle” the family had escaped uninjured and yesterday the mum-of-two said she felt lucky to be alive.
Joanne, who works as a transitions manager at a school, added: “My bed is made of metal and if it had been touching the wall I could have been electrocuted to death.
“I had no idea what was happening at the time, it scared the living daylights out of me.
“The bang woke me up and the bedroom was black and filled with dust.
“I jumped out of bed, got the girls up and we ran outside.
“I’ve never heard anything that loud before, I thought maybe the roof had fallen in and I called 999.
“We were waiting outside in the pouring rain and that’s when I noticed the scorch marks around the aerial and I realised what must have happened.
“A friend who lives around the corner said they saw a red and orange ball of fire above the house just after it hit.
“The ironic thing is that I love watching lightning and sometimes take photos of storms. I think this might put me off a bit.
“The bolt hit the wall just inches from where I was fast asleep, if it had been any closer then I could’ve been a goner, I feel lucky to still be here.”
Daughter Elysha said: “The bang was so scary and so loud. All the fire alarms were going off and there was smoke everywhere.
“The dog was in the bedroom where it happened so I was shouting to try to get them out.
“We thought the loft was on fire and the roof had caved in. I can’t believe this has happened.”
Husband Gary, 40, who was out doing food shopping when the lightning struck, said he expects the damage cost to run into the tens of thousands of pounds.
Gary, a joiner, added: “It blew a hole in the room but it was torrential rain and I phoned a local builder friend who helped me get tiles and ladders up to cover the hole up.
“The ceiling in the bedroom and landing have drooped and all the appliances that were plugged in have been burnt out and blown up.
“We had an emergency electrician come out but until the floors have been pulled up there’s no way you can put the electricity back on so we are waiting for the insurance people to come.
“It was just a miracle escape really. My wife was in a metal bed so if that was touching the wall then god knows what could have happened.”
Firefighter Andrew Adamson, from Staffordshire Fire and Rescue, added: “The amount of electricity in a lightning bolt causes extreme damage when it hits a property.
“It’s a miracle all the family escaped without injury.
“We inspected the house for fire and damage and advised the family about what steps to take to get their power back on.”
Next-door neighbour Doug Brown, 66, helped the family over the weekend – 30 years after his own home was struck by lightning.
He said: “I can’t believe this has happened after the same thing happened to me, it’s so unlucky.
“When the lightning hit my house, it just damaged the brickwork. But when it hit their house next door it hit the metal aerial.”