Barber recalls lightning strike

The damage to the Cockton Road block of flats.

The damage to the Cockton Road block of flats.

A barber who lives in the block of flats which was struck by lightning has described the frightening moment when the building was hit.

The ball of lightning slammed into the roof of the Gatehouse Quarter flats, Cockton Road, on Friday shortly before 11am and left block 13 unsafe for residents.

Four families had to be evacuated from the block by a fire crew, which quickly cordoned off the area to assess the structural damage.

Barber Dariel Almonte, 21, was sat with his young cousin watching TV as the storm began.

Mr Almonte, who lives in one of the ground floor flat with his mother and grandmother, said: “I was looking outside the window when the hail stones were coming down and I was thinking what was going on?

“Then there was a big bang and I thought, something has hit the building.

“I saw lightning coming down in other places out the window and the next thing I know, my building got hit.

“The alarms started and all the lights went off. I panicked a bit and saw a feather float down as if a bird had been killed by it.”

Mr Almonte, who said their boiler has not been working since the strike, explained they were told they could stay but some of their neighbours had been taken to a hotel.

Catalyst Housing, which owns the building, have provided temporary accommodation for two of the families forced to leave their homes while the others are staying with relatives and friends.

Spokesman for the association David Blackett said the full extent of repair work will be known on Friday but he was ‘hopeful’ that the damage was just aesthetic.




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