Shocking experience: Lightning strikes Wallabi Point home

THOUSANDS of people around the area marvelled at the ferocity of  the electrical storm on Friday April 25, many agreeing that they’d “never seen anything like it.”

It’s safe to say that Jim and Annette Pearsall of Wallabi Point hope we never see anything like it again.

The Pearsalls were enjoying a sleep-in on the Anzac Day public holiday when out of nowhere an explosion went off at the top right hand corner of their home.

Neither Jim or Annette were aware of the extent of the storm outside and didn't suspect the explosion was actually lightning striking the house.

The blast blew tiles off their roof, leaving a large hole, before striking the concrete driveway where it has left an impressive crater in its attempt to find earth.

Neighbours reported seeing the lightning dance sideways along the top of the roof where it found the chimney (located in the middle of the house), travelled down the flue and blew tiles out of the floor, but was still unsuccessful at finding earth.

From there it has continued moving across the house, eventually bursting through a copper pipe off the back of the house, where it travelled underground to their outdoor shower, located at the opposite end of the yard from where it first hit.

And all of that in less than a second.

Inside the damage to electrical appliances, wiring and phone lines is unimaginable.

A phone mounted on the wall in Jim and Annette’s bedroom, was flung off by the lightning bolt and struck Jim in the face, while the couple also had to contend with water flooding in through the downlights - thanks to the hole in the roof.

“You always think you’ll be safe inside your house when a storm hits, but we’re extremely lucky to be alive,” said Annette.

All the Pearsalls’ televisions, computers and many other appliances have been ‘fried’, while their powerboard was completely destroyed.

“We have no idea of the extent of the damage yet, but we’ll need every bit of wiring to be looked at and all the pipes assessed too,” explained Annette.

But it’s often said that the most shocking event bring out the best in people and Jim and Annette can attest to this.

Both couldn’t speak highly enough of the SES crews, Essential Energy and MidCoast Water staff who were all on the scene in less than an hour to take control of the situation and ensure the house and surrounds were safe.

“They were absolutely incredible, we’re so grateful to them, it’s opened our eyes to exactly what these people do, we can’t thank them all enough,” Annette added.

And then there was the Wallabi Point community.

“We’ve always known we live in a great little town but the way people went out of their way to help us and make sure we were alright, that was amazing,” she said.

“We had four different offers to stay with neighbours, people cooked us pancakes, made us coffee, everyone was just so lovely and caring, it’s a nice feeling to see people looking out for you like that.”

Jim and Annette can continue to stay in their house, with the affected areas sectioned off and only half the electricity switched on to use.

“It’s going to be quite a process from here,” she admitted.

“We’re just lucky to be alive and that’s all that really matters.”