A dad was just feet away from being hit by deadly lightning when a bolt came down a chimney in his and his wife’s bedroom.
Joel Price was at his home Undercliff Hall when yesterday morning’s storm broke out.
During a “horrific” incident, he and wife Wendy awoke to care for their two children Toby, 11, and Scarlett, nine, when lightning travelled down the chimney flue and into the bedroom of their Grade II-listed home in Cleadon Village.
The bolt is believed to have struck a TV aerial on top of the building.
Luckily Mr Price, a chief operating officer for an oil company, was inches away from being hit by the bolt.
The 45-year-old said: “It was an almighty bang like when an electric switch goes off.
“At first I was just shocked that it has got inside the house but then I realised how lucky I’d been.
“The thunder and lightning was right above us so it was really hammering on the house.
“With the house being listed we don’t have double glazed windows and you can hear things rattling.”
Mr and Mrs Price, who have lived at Undercliff for the past seven years, are now hoping to find that any damage to the property is only minimal.
Mrs Price, 46, said: “I’ve never seen anything like it in my life.
“You can see the chimney pots for miles because Undercliff is quite high so that’s probably why we’ve been hit.
“The kids were screaming and my husband got up to see to them.
“He was just walking past the fireplace when the strike came down the flue, shot out of the fireplace right next to him about two feet away.
“It was as if someone had put a firework down the chimney.”
The family are relieved that their pets, including two rabbits, two cats and a dog were left unscathed from the ordeal, despite being frightened by the storm.
“The kids were absolutely terrified,” added Mrs Price.
“I’ve been looking online since it happened and found out that these kinds of things happen quite often.
“Hopefully there isn’t much damage even though the power has been knocked out since the lightning hit so we’ll try to get that sorted.”
The lightning bolt struck Undercliff Hall shortly before 7am.