Photo gallery: Couple’s lucky escape after lightning bolt strikes flat in Beccles

Steven Webb and Samantha Bee had a lucky escape after lightning struck their flat in Beccles.  Picture: Nick Butcher Steven Webb and Samantha Bee had a lucky escape after lightning struck their flat in Beccles. Picture: Nick Butcher

Monday, August 27, 2012
9:27 AM

A couple have told of their narrow escape after a bolt of lighting struck their flat in Beccles causing thousands of pounds worth of damage.

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Steven Webb and Samantha Bee had a lucky escape after lightning struck their flat in Beccles.  Picture: Nick ButcherSteven Webb and Samantha Bee had a lucky escape after lightning struck their flat in Beccles. Picture: Nick Butcher

Steven Webb and Samantha Bee described how plug sockets and electrical equipment exploded into pieces in the wake of a “bright flash” of lightning which left a gaping hole in their roof.

The freak strike came at 5.15pm on Saturday amid a bitter storm that swept across Norfolk and north Suffolk dumping heavy bursts of rain.

Now, the pair have been forced to move back to their parents, as they face weeks of disruption while costly repairs are carried out at 36 Smallgate – a block of flats and a house where 11 people live.

Recalling the traumatic ordeal, Mr Webb said he did not even want to contemplate the total cost of the fallout because they were currently saving to get married. The 22-year-old carer, whose family live in Reydon, said: I just walked in the door from work to get something to eat. It was chucking it down outside and Samantha was looking out of the window when there was this bright flash about an arms length away from her face.

Storms near Southwold on Saturday. Pic Ben WoodsStorms near Southwold on Saturday. Pic Ben Woods

“She screamed very loudly. When I came through to the living room there was stuff all over the floor. Plugs had exploded and the alarms were going crazy. When it struck there was a very loud bang that shook the house – it moved the table away from the wall.”

Mr Webb said his neighbour had rushed upstairs to help his fiance to safety who is struggling to move following a foot operation

Meanwhile, he ran to another flat to escort a neighbour out of the building, before they were met in the street by fire crews from Beccles and Bungay who closed the road and took two hours to secure the building.

At present, a metre-square hole caused by the strike has been temporarily repaired until permanent work can be carried out this week.

Miss Bee, also a 22-year-old carer, whose family live in Worlingham, said she felt the situation could have been worse. “It was lucky Steven came home when he did,” she added. “I normally sit and work with the laptop plugged in. Instead, we were in the kitchen.”

The extent of the destruction only became apparent to the couple on Sunday when they returned to find their TV ruined, their fuse box blown to bits and charred burn marks staining the walls.

The road was reopened to traffic late on Saturday night after fire crews left the premises at 8.45pm.

Meanwhile, weather forecasters have predicted an end to the weekend’s stormy weather, but it will remain unsettled today and throughout the week, before brightening at the weekend.

Jim Bacon, managing director of Weatherquest, has urged beach-goers along the north Norfolk coast to be mindful of today’s strengthening southerly wind when swimming in the sea. Elsewhere, waves are likely to be choppy along east Norfolk and Suffolk.

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