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Weather / ‘Scary’ lightning knocks out telephone lines

The blown up phone inlet in Lara Jamieson's house.

Statement from Openreach 11am on Sunday 23 February:

“Engineers have this morning carried out repairs to a street cabinet serving Muckle Roe properties following a power trip caused by lightning. Some residents may have seen services restored from 9am.

“However, we expect that there will also be individual faults in the area following the lightning strikes. People should continue to report these to their service provider in the first instance, who will liaise with Openreach to organise repairs. We’re sorry for any disruption to local services following the lightning strikes.”

Saturday 22 February 9pm:

SOME people in the Muckle Roe area have been without telephone and broadband services since the early hours of Saturday after a series of lightning strikes destroyed phone lines and BT boxes.

The lightning was so powerful it blew the complete BT box off the wall leaving a gaping black hole in Ian and Lara Jamieson’s home on the island.

Lara Jamieson described the experience as “very scary” and added that she had “never experience lightning or thunder like that before”.

Islanders said they believed the whole island was affected Openreach said on Saturday evening that they had just six faults reported.

Jamieson said the lightning struck at around ten to two on Saturday morning.

Following the first strike and “a massive clap of thunder” she realised she had to unplug the TV and computers; something she managed just before a second strike that “came in the phone line and blew my box to bits”.

“I could smell burning to went looking and found the blown up phone inlet,” she said.

A spokeswoman for Openreach, the company that looks after the telephone lines and deals with local faults, said they have had three fault reported in Muckle Roe, two in Sullom and one in Brae following the recent severe weather and lightning strikes.

“Service providers have arranged engineering appointments for their customers on Monday and Wednesday so the damage can be repaired,” she said.

“We’ll be carrying out initial works tomorrow ahead of the arranged appointments but we’ve not seen any wider network issues at the moment.

“If anyone else is experiencing any problems they should report it to their service provider in the first instance, who will liaise direct with Openreach as required.”

A spokesman for BT added that the network remains working with calls and broadband flowing, and 999 calls are possible.

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