A FAMILY had an ‘incredibly lucky’ escape after a lightning strike blew apart the back of their West Dorset home.

Lightning struck the first floor of the property in the village of Wootton Fitzpaine at around 6.45am this morning, Friday, September 19.

One villager who was watching the lightning storm from her bedroom window described the family as 'very lucky' to have escaped the house.

Firefighters from Charmouth and Lyme Regis rushed to the home, situated at the north eastern side of the village, and nearby residents hurried to try and help the family who were inside at the time.

The family escaped the house in time but it is believed the family dog died in the tragedy.

More than 60 homes across the village have also been left without power and Western Power Distribution are currently on scene trying to restore power as soon as possible.

Villager Anne Roberts, who was awake at the time of the incident, said: “Just after 6am I heard a massive crack of thunder.

“I’ve never seen or heard a storm like it, it was absolutely horrific.

“Thank goodness the family are OK - it’s incredibly lucky that people weren’t hurt.

“Because of the time of day and the storm overnight most people were already awake which was a blessing.”

A Western Power spokesperson on scene, who did not wish to be named, said the television aerial of the home was struck and called the family ‘very lucky’.

He added: “The family have been advised to stay away from the property until it is structurally safe.”

The rear top left window of the home closest to the chimney had been blown off its hinges and glass and rubble scattered the field at the rear of the house.

A nearby villager, who wished to remain anonymous, told how she ran to help the family inside the house at the time after watching the storm from her bedroom window.

She said: “I just happened to be watching the storm; in all my life I’ve never seen anything like it.

“I ran to see if the family were OK and luckily they all got out safe as far as I know.”

She also thanked the ‘excellent work’ of the fire service.

A spokeswoman for Dorset Fire and Rescue said: "The property received extensive damage, mostly to the roof and first floor area.

“Further assistance was requested from Wessex Water and Western Power Distribution due to damage caused to these services by the lightening strike.

"Western Power Distribution advised that a large number of properties in this area have been left without power.

"Building Control also attended the property due to the extensive damage it received."