Dramatic moment a power line collapsed in the snow - and set fire to an orchard

·2-min read

A family's birthday celebrations were dramatically interrupted by the "Beast From The East mark two" - when a power line collapsed and caught FIRE behind their garden.

David Austin was celebrating his 65th birthday on Sunday with his wife Amanda, 62, and two sons George, 24, and Jack, 22 - and initially thought his family had organised a surprise fireworks display for him.

But the situation quickly turned from "humorous to serious" as the sparking power line set more and more fir trees alight - less than 100 feet from David and Amanda's garden in Brundish, Suffolk.

It came on the same day that at least six inches of snow fell and settled across much of the East of England - causing havoc for many motorists and even emergency services.

Amanda said: "It was quite eventful. It all happened less than 100 feet from the edge of our garden.

"We had decided a few days beforehand that because we couldn't do much for my husband's birthday, we would have a hog roast in the back garden.

"We knew that bad weather was coming, so we set up a gazebo and everything so we were prepared.

"My sons got everything going and then we came inside to watch the rugby.

"At about 5pm, one of the boys went outside to check on the hog roast, and he came running back and banging on the window and said, 'You'd better get out here'.

"What had happened was, because it was so windy, the wind had blown a fir tree across the power line which runs across the back edge of the field behind our garden.

"The power line didn't come down straight away - but it was sparking all over the place, and eventually it fell, and set fire to a load of other fir trees in the orchard around it.

"Because fir trees are so dry inside, once one went up, they all went up. It was like a domino effect."

Amanda added: "David honestly thought at first that we were putting on a fireworks display for him. But it went from humorous to serious very quickly."

Amanda and David called out the fire brigade - but because of a snow flurry, they were unable to get to the scene.

However, the heavy snowfall eventually put out the fire after about 40 minutes.

But the family were left without power for over six hours, from 5.30pm to midnight.

Amanda said: "We still got to have our hog roast, and David blew out candles by candlelight at about 9pm.

"The power men arrived at about 6pm and they were absolutely brilliant.

"They worked through the night, in the dark, in awful conditions, to get our power back up by midnight. They did an amazing job.

"It'll certainly be a birthday to remember for David," she joked.