Householder Allan Burgess today showed the devastation caused to his home by a lightning strike.
The detached house on Winters Road in Shirrell Heath near Wickham was hit just after 8pm last night, causing devastation and destruction as fire ripped through his house from the roof downwards.
Mr Burgess, 72, spoke of his shock and disbelief as he was told his house was on fire. Luckily Mr Burgess had been at the gym when the lightning struck the house and nobody else was in.
He said: ‘When I went out it was raining, there was some sign of lightning in the distance.
‘I was caught in the rain storm and thought I would go to the gym on my way home. I was just luxuriating in the jacuzzi when my son-in-law rushed in and told me my house was on fire.
‘When I got home, there were appliances all down the road, including police cars and ambulances. The roof was well ablaze when I got to it.’
Around 45 firefighters from Wickham, Bishop’s Waltham, Droxford, Fareham and Hightown battled the blaze until 2am.
Mr Burgess said: ‘The house has no roof on it now. The roof has totally been demolished, all the roof space has gone. Everything in the loft has been destroyed and the firemen have been and taken off all the tiles.’
Mr Burgess said the whole house had been damaged by water and he was starting to do a salvage operation, while waiting instruction from the insurance company.
The grandfather-of-two said that even his ten-year-old granddaughter’s toys had been caught up in the destruction.
He said he had lost his precious jazz collection, including irreplaceable records and programmes, one even signed by Ella Fitzgerald, and mementos and photographs from his time spent at Cape Canaveral as part of his career fixing satellites for Marconi.
Mr Burgess said: ‘I’m still in shock really.
‘We are pretty sure it was a lightning strike. Who would ever think you would be unlucky enough to be hit by lightning? You can’t imagine the damage that it has done.’
Elsewhere across the area, Portsmouth’s home game was called off at half-time due to flooding of the pitch. Several streets flooded included Northarbour Road, Cosham and Copnor Road, Copnor, due to heavy rain.
A sewage leak was reported in Clarendon Road, Southsea after the storm.
A spokesman for Southern Water said: ‘This was probably caused by the torrential rain that fell in Portsmouth last night, however, we will be investigating to see if there were any faults on the sewer network.’