Lightning strike hits Bolton house 'melting' the curtains
A lightning bolt hit a house in Bolton blowing a hole in the roof and "melting the curtains".
The strike travelled down the TV aerial before it exploded in the fireplace, damaging furnishings inside the house.
Margaret Hart, 70, and her husband had to stay with a neighbour after the strike destroyed the fuse box and blew light switches off the walls.
There was extensive damage to wiring and a gas fire and TV were left "smouldering", the fire service said.
Repairs are being carried out to the house in the Breightmet area.
Firefighters were called to the house just before 16:30 GMT on Saturday after the house was struck during a thunder storm.
"All of a sudden there was a big bang and the lights went out," said Mrs Hart whose hearing was affected by the blast.
It is believed a lightning bolt hit the roof and travelled down the aerial and chimney, said a Greater Manchester Fire and Rescue Service (GMFRS) spokesman.
"It sort of burnt the curtains, well, melted it really," said Mrs Hart. "We were very lucky."
Watch Manager Paul Norris from Bolton North Fire Station said: "Two houses were affected by the lightning - one was unoccupied but the one that came off worse was occupied by an elderly couple.
"The bolt left quite a large hole in the roof and has damaged the chimney. Inside plaster and a light switch were blown off the wall in the couple's bedroom.
"Tiles on the roof and chimney had come away with the impact from the bolt that also damaged electrical circuits.
"We used ladders to get onto the roof and took away loose bricks and made the chimney stack safe."
Mr and Mrs Hart are now staying with friends and family while repairs are carried out.
"It's a bit devastating really," she said. "I don't know when we'll get back in, that's what's bothering me."