A HOME was struck by lightning after fierce thunderstorms, which caused a major gas leak and fire.

Fire crews were called out to a home in Hannay Close in Barrow after the chimney was struck by lightning during Monday night's storms.

Firefighters were dispatched at 2.12am yesterday morning to Hannay Close after reports a lightning strike had hit the chimney and burst a gas pipe which caused a small fire.

The fire was extinguished before the crews arrived at 2.21am who deemed the property safe.

Barrow Fire Station chief, Roger Exley, said: "The lightning hit the chimney and burst a gas pipe which caused a small fire.

"There was no sign of a fire upon arrival.

"The property was checked with a thermal imaging camera and was deemed safe by firefighters.

"It seemed the resident had put the fire out and isolated the gas leak themselves.

"Generally a strong fire occurs when there is a gas like but there only seems to have been a small fire."

Mr Exley said it is 'quite rare' for lightning strikes to hit properties, contrary to popular belief.

According to the Tornado and Storm Research Organisation (TORRO), on average around 250 houses, buildings, property, trees, animals and electricity supplies are struck by lightning each year.

Mr Exley said: "It's quite rare for lightning to hit houses and cause fires.

"We don't actually get as many calls as people may think because homes are properly earthed now.

"Unless the lightning is a direct hit, most properties aren't affected."

Mr Exley said the house fire could have been 'very dangerous' if it had not been contained early on.

He said: "It could've been very dangerous as gas leaks often cause large fires which spread quickly. Considering how strong the storm was, the resident was very lucky it was not worse and did not spread further."

Mr Exley is urging residents to close their doors at night, plan an escape route and ensure their alarms are working.