Watch manager Vic Thorogood was off duty at the time and at his home in Canterbury Road when the chimney fell through his roof.
He managed to drag out his children, aged six and three at the time, who were eating breakfast.
This was despite a plume of black smoke covering his property.
He said: “It all came crashing into our property – the roof came through the house and into the living room. “It wrote everything off. “It destroyed all the contents of the house – the carpets, furniture, ornaments.
“The roof needed repairing and the chimney needed rebuilding.”
The house was covered by building insurance which meant that the relevant repairs were covered.
Mr Thorogood said his family could not return to their home for weeks until it was made safe.
Emergency services conducted a joint operation to make the town’s roads safe after the earthquake left many homes unstable
Local and national media crews descended on the area to cover the dramatic story