Sun. Sep 24th, 2023


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Insurers refuse to pay out after ‘act of God’ lightning fries street’s electrics

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After lighting struck a row of houses and wrecked solar panels and TVs, insurers have refused to pay out – claiming the incident was an “Act of God”.

James Bradbury was relaxing in front of his TV at home in Stoke-on-Trent when a bolt of lightning struck the solar panels on his roof.

It is believed the bolt spread across the entire roof, leaving neighbour Kieran Byatt’s property with a hole and live wires exposed, as well as damage to the inside of the property.

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James told StokeonTrentLive: “I was watching a film and I heard the thunder and lightning just like everyone else, but then I heard a big bang. I came downstairs and there were sparks and smoke everywhere.

James explained: "The neighbour across the road had a friend over and they came running out of his house pointing and shouting ‘lightning’s struck your solar panels!’, so my mum and I came outside straight away.

His neighbour Kieran added: “The lightning has completely fried all the WiFi and landline cables. There were bits of wire all over the drive. We’ve got to re-tile the roof and wait for repairs to the WiFi and landline.

"We haven’t even got hot water because the system is wireless and works through the WiFi, and we don’t have any WiFi at the moment. The worst thing is we have to pay for all the damages ourselves because insurance say the lightning ‘was an act of God’.”

John and June Burndred live next-door-but-one to James and were also affected by the strike. John said: “We’d been celebrating my birthday in the daytime with our family, and then the TV went bang after they’d left.

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"We’ve been told it’s going to take until Wednesday or Thursday for BT to come and sort out the landline. There’s an elderly lady across the street who only uses the landline so I’ve been asking if she’d like to use my phone.

“I’ve spent £350 on a new aerial today because we can’t claim on our home insurance because they say ‘it’s an act of God’. Thankfully Gary from Stoke Aerials has came to the rescue.

"As for the TVs, one is worth £1,000 and it was a gift from our daughter the Christmas before last – there was smoke coming from it and it won’t turn on at all now. Luckily we can afford to replace what we’ve lost, but not everyone around here is that fortunate."

Lightning struck the homes on Sunday June 12 sometime between 8.30pm and 9pm. Although lightning only hit the adjacent semi-detached houses, multiple residents have been affected by the bolt as it has disabled the telegraph pole.

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