Neighbours tackle fire after lightning strikes tree

QUICK ACTION: Rolleston resident Andre Berkett extinguishing pine trees engulfed in flames from a crack of lightning.

Quick thinking from Rolleston residents saved a shed from catching fire after a lightning strike on Sunday.

Andre Berkett and a neighbour John Atherton used garden hoses to put out a tree fire after it was struck by lightning between 12.30-1pm at Goulds Rd across from Clearview Primary School.

Mr Berkett said within 10sec of the lightning strike, the flames were as high as the treeline and heading fast towards a neighbouring property’s shed containing jet skis and a car.

Using garden hoses, it took a bare-footed Mr Berkett, along with a neighbour, about 30min to extinguish the flames.

“I didn’t have time to put my shoes on,” he said.

Mr Berkett and his partner Sarah Laird were making bacon and eggs for lunch when they heard a loud bang which sounded like a gas bottle exploding.

“Everything was grey we could see the flames over the door . . . dogs all nutting out and going off and I was like holy s***,” Mr Berkett said.

The flames were reduced to embers by the time firefighters from Rolleston and Burnham Camp attended the incident.

Due to the quick action, the only damaged sustained was the burnt tree.

“It is what you do, we are a pretty tight little community down here . . . we are all a close family as we are friends. It is just something we do really,” Mr Berkett said.

It comes after a spate of lighting strikes reported across the country last week.

MetService meteorologist Peter Little said incidents such as trees and properties catching fire as a result of lightning, does happen from time to time.

He said a lot more lightning and thunder activity happens in the spring when there is a lot more moist nor’westerly flows.