HOUSES were damaged after lightning struck as thunderstorms battered St Helens on Tuesday evening.

The electrical storms – accompanied by torrential rain – saw fork lightning crash down over parts of the town and blasts of thunder.

The storm broke out shortly after 7pm and lasted for more than half an hour.

Merseyside Fire and Rescue Service confirmed they had been called out to  semi-detached house in Cumberland Avenue, Portico, which had been struck by lightning.

A spokeswoman for the fire service said: “It had been struck by lightning, causing a small fire in the upstairs bedroom.

“The occupiers had put out the fire prior to calling us but we still went around to carry out a safety inspection and advised for checks to be made by the utility companies and a structural engineer.”

Meanwhile, lightning set off alarms in several town centre businesses.

Such was the intensity of the storms over the town centre that outgoing mayor Andy Bowden – who was entertaining guests in St Helens Town Hall – turned to Twitter to suggest the building may have been struck by a bolt.

Other St Helens residents also commented on the weather via the blogging site, with one joking that it seemed as though the “War of the Worlds was happening over St Helens”.

Another added: “What a thunderstorm we are having in St Helens at the moment! Not had one like this for years. Keep getting blinded and deafened.”

Others wrote: “Wow. Amazing storm over St Helens. Loudest thunder I’ve ever heard.”

Was your home or business struck? Did you get any pictures of the thunderstorms? Email