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Woman suffered burns and headache after lightning strike in Tunbridge Wells during last night's thunderstorms

By KentOnline reporter

A woman has told of the dramatic moment she was thrown from her bed during a violent lightning storm - as a man fought back flames following a separate strike.

Susannah Ford-Crush even videoed the dramatic moment the bolt indirectly struck her at her Tunbridge Wells home.

Writing on YouTube, Susannah said her frightening ordeal "started off as some natural entertainment... but I hadn't expected to be such a key participant".

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The moment lightning strikes at Tunbridge Wells. Picture Susannah

The moment lightning strikes at Tunbridge Wells. Picture: Susannah

She said: "A bolt of lightning hit one of the scaffolding poles on the house next door, which was around three to four feet from where I was sitting by my open window.

"I experienced an indirect hit as an off-shoot from the main bolt on the metal scaffolding pole.

"I felt a rush of heat, was stunned by the bright light and was thrown back from my window onto my bed.


Video: Susannah shows the moment she is struck by lightning

"I've since suffered a severe headache, slight sunburn, my skin smelt smokey and of electricity, and all my bodily hair was static for hours afterwards."

Meanwhile, in Gravesend, a man suffered burns in the early hours of this morning after tackling a fire when lightning hit the house.
Roy Thomas, his partner Tracey Shelton and her 15-year-old son Toby were at their home in Calderwood and were woken by a massive bang.
Roy said: “We jumped out of bed and could hear the house alarm sounding.
"We started to feel our way downstairs in the darkness as all the power was out and Tracey smelt smoke, which we thought was coming from the TV.
Susannah captured this spectacular lightning strike - just before she was a victim herself!

Susannah captured this spectacular lightning strike - just before she was a victim herself!

"Fortunately, I looked up at the loft hatch and could see a glowing light.
“We phoned the fire service and I grabbed a ladder to investigate. As soon as I opened the hatch I could see the flames roaring away but the whole space was full of smoke.
"I tried to smother the flames with towels and bedding but it was too hot and I burnt my hands.
"By this time Tracey and her son were passing wet towels and buckets of water to me, which I threw over the fire but it kept flaring back up.
The point of impact over Tonbridge. Picture James Miller

The point of impact over Tonbridge. Picture: James Miller

"Thankfully, the last wet beach towel I threw on it managed to smother the flames and the firefighters were there.
“The crews were brilliant; they arrived within minutes and damped it all down. They used a special camera to check the fire was out and cut away the burnt, melted felt.”
Thames-side Crew Manager, Rob Parkin said the emergency call came through at 3.21am, but the family’s quick thinking helped what could have been a potentially serious roof fire.
“One of the reasons fires can spread so quickly is the clutter people keep in their homes.
"Fortunately, this family had a clear loft space and their actions really did make a difference to the severity of the fire."
The skies light up above Tonbridge. Picture James Miller

The skies light up above Tonbridge. Picture: James Miller

Mr Thomas received hospital treatment for the burns. 
He added: “My hands were numb at the time but are quite painful now and I think the shock is beginning to set in.
"While it’s only the loft that was damaged by the fire, the lightning has blown all the electrics, several TV’s were destroyed and the house alarm completely fried.”

The dramatic storms caused heavy rainfall and come before today's predicted heatwave.

A poster known as Jason Reeve also captured the night skies being lit up by the tremendous lightning strikes.


Video: Jason Reeve captures the drama of the thunderstorm

He took this timelapse video of the area around Tunbridge Wells.

Also capturing the moment the skies lit up over Kent was James Miller.

Filming from a Tonbridge bedroom he shows how the entire outside is momentarily brightly lit as the fork lightning touches ground.

The bolts appear to be hitting the earth in reasonably quick succession, suggesting the storm is very close.


Video: James Miller sees the skies light up in Tonbridge



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