A FAMILY are counting themselves lucky to be alive after lightning struck causing massive damage to their home.

Hair salon owner Christine Brooks, 65, had just walked into the kitchen of the home at Haxby near York she shares with 30 year-old son Liam when lightning struck. He said: "My mum told me there was a bright white flash and when she opened her eyes the house was on fire. She was very lucky to get out. To see my mum safe when I got home was instant relief."

Just a few hours earlier he had dropped off his two-year-old son at the home of his ex-wife otherwise he could have been asleep in one of the bedrooms.

Liam added: "My mum is safe and my son is safe, that's all I am bothered about, you can replace objects but you can't replace people. Although obviously we're devastated by what has happened."

Friends and neighbours ran to help Christine as five fire crews tackled the blaze which caused the roof to collapse. A fundraising campaign to help replace destroyed belongings has raised £12,000.