A BLACKWOOD restaurant owner and her family have been left homeless after a bolt of lightning struck- completely ‘gutting’ the newly renovated house.

Tracey and John Davies were left heartbroken after their three-bedroom detached house on Pengam Road, Penpedairheol, turned in to a fireball while they sat watching TV.

Mrs Davies, of Blackwood restaurant Full O Flavour, described the fire on January 3 as “absolutely horrendous” but was grateful that the whole family came away with their lives.

The family were watching Toy Story when a lightning bolt struck the TV aerial and the attic set on fire on January 3.

Despite losing everything, the family are fully aware of how the fire could have been much worse as their 17 year old daughter Kristia was upstairs with their four year-old granddaughter just moments before the lightning hit.

“”It was absolutely horrendous,” Mrs Davies said.

“We didn’t realise that the roof was on fire when we were sat in the living room.

“I didn’t even hear the bang - the bang I heard was the fuse box blowing off the wall.

“We were just sat watching Toy Story and my daughter came downstairs with my granddaughter and she must have been sat with her on the settee for about four or five minutes before it happened.

“That is how lucky we are.

“Otherwise we would be looking at something more serious.

“The fire service told us that it was a bolt of lightning that hit the aerial and we were told that it is something like a billion to one chance of it happening.

“The house is completely gutted.”

When the lightning struck the fuse box exploded in the passage and the ceiling came down.

“We were just running around,” Mrs Davies continued.

“Neighbours were banging on the door shouting at us to leave as the gas was still on and the house could have exploded.”

South Wales Fire and Rescue crews from Cefn Fforest, Bargoed, Caerphilly, and Cardiff arrived quickly on the scene and used a hydraulic platform and a water bowser to put out the fire taking a total of four hours.

“I can’t thank the fire brigade enough,” added Mrs Davies.

“They put everything that I had in the living room into the kitchen out of the way because the kitchen was the only part of the house that wasn’t touched.

“They were fantastic.”

Remaining belongings include four ornaments, a couple of family pictures and the TV.

The family vacated the premise at 4.30pm and were left standing on the pavement watching their house burn until 9pm.

“My grandson Lucas, 2, through the explosions were fireworks, but my granddaughter Lacey, 4, was screaming and I couldn’t console her-it was very frightening,” the 51 year-old added. The children's dad Ross, Mrs Davies' son, was not in the house at the time.

“We came out through the back door and saw the roof was on fire.”

The family are currently staying at a bed and breakfast in the Blackwood for the next two weeks while they wait for their insurance to come through to allow them to stay in a rented house.

The family believe that the damage adds up to well over £100,000.

“There is nothing left,” said Mrs Davies.

“My daughter’s bedroom went up in flames and she lost all of her college work, so she has come off the worst.”