A series of decisions may have saved the lives of a Laurieton couple after a massive lightning strike on Sunday night.
At around 5.30pm January 1 the bushland neighbourhood around Deauville Road was rocked by a blast of lightning which blew apart a large gum tree and took out electricity and phone services.
Camden Haven SES were on the scene to assess the damage Sunday night and returned on Monday morning, along with arborists, to check the damage to the property.
Some roof tiles were damaged on one of the property’s buildings. Lightning also travelled underground and blew through concrete and tiles inside.
Large, splintered chunks of the tree around 2-3 metres in length were found up to 50 metres from the tree site.
The strike caused around a 15 metre section of the tree to explode. The top 40 metres of the tree then speared into the ground.
The owners said they arrived home just minutes after the strike.
“We were travelling home from Brisbane and stopped for lunch, then stopped for coffee,” the home owner said.
“We don’t usually do that. We usually just grab lunch and keep going. If we hadn’t we would have been home at the time. We would have been outside unpacking the car and checking on the chooks [just 10 metres away from the tree].”
A neighbour, who was home at the time, said the flash of lightning lit up his darkened loungeroom and the noise shook the house.
“It was like, flash-bang, so quick and sounded like a bomb,” he said.
Another neighbour said the cracking of the tree could be heard for a few minutes after the strike.
Incredibly the home owner said the chooks were fine, the pen wasn’t damaged and none seemed to have been affected by the noise.
The owners were waiting on repairs to the electricity and septic system before they will be able to return home.
Arborists will remove the entire tree due to the extensive damage.