Re­tiree An­gus has lucky es­cape af­ter light­en­ing hits his Colon­say home

The Oban Times - - News - STEVEN RAE srae@oban­

A COLON­SAY man has de­scribed his terror as light­ning struck the chim­ney of his house, just two me­tres above where he was sleep­ing.

Fri­day the 13th, known as an un­lucky day in Western su­per­sti­tion, cer­tainly was for An­gus MacPhee, 66, when he nar­rowly avoided be­ing in­jured by the light­en­ing, which struck the property on Squint Street, dur­ing storm Abi­gail.

A sin­gle bolt of light­ning can carry any­thing be­tween 100mil­lion and 1bil­lion volts of elec­tric­ity.

‘I was in the army for 12 years,’ said An­gus, who has lived on Colon­say since 1997. ‘I’ve heard bombs and other types of ex­plo­sions, but I’ve never heard a noise like that. It was ter­ri­fy­ing and so loud that they heard it at the other end of the is­land.

‘It was about 2.25am on Fri­day the 13th of all days, and I heard this hor­ren­dous bang. It was light­ning hit­ting the chim­ney, com­ing through the roof.’

Hav­ing had a few drinks be­fore go­ing to bed, An­gus said the in­ci­dent was a sober­ing ex­pe­ri­ence.

‘I’d had a few whiskies but that sobered me up straight away. I didn’t run down the stairs, I prac­ti­cally fell down them,’ he said. ‘It blew my fuse box up, the tele­vi­sion, Sky box, all my white goods and the whole elec­tric cir­cuitry. I had no heat­ing af­ter it. The roof is full of holes.

‘Thank­fully I had my phone in my dress­ing gown, so I man­aged to call the fire bri­gade.

‘One of the elec­tri­cians told me it was 100 mil­lion volts that came into the house – I was just two me­tres un­derneath it.’ As a ten­ant of Ar­gyll Com­mu­nity Hous­ing As­so­ci­a­tion (ACHA), An­gus, who grew up in Pais­ley but whose grand­fa­ther was a na­tive of Colon­say, was housed in tem­po­rary ac­com­mo­da­tion un­til be­ing re­housed in Oban on Mon­day.

‘I can’t praise ACHA enough, they have been ter­rific,’ he said.

Alas­tair MacGregor, ACHA’s chief ex­ec­u­tive, said: ‘Mr MacPhee was the only ACHA ten­ant af­fected by the light­ning. He was put up by the as­so­ci­a­tion in tem­po­rary bed and break­fast ac­com­mo­da­tion, but has ac­cepted an of­fer of a per­ma­nent trans­fer to an ACHA property else­where.’

A spokesman for Scot­tish and Southern En­ergy said: ‘We have light­ning pro­tec­tion equip­ment on our net­work, so when there is a light­ning strike our equip­ment is pro­tected. But ul­ti­mately we are bat­tling na­ture and there are times the net­work can suf­fer dam­age caused by light­ning.

‘There were 3,261 cus­tomers off sup­ply on Novem­ber 13 across Colon­say, Lochgilp­head, Bade­noch. Our apolo­gies for the dis­rup­tion and the in­con­ve­nience our cus­tomers suf­fered.’

The light­en­ing dam­aged the chim­ney and roof of An­gus

MacPhee’s home.

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