A HOLLAND-ON-SEA pub “went up in flames” after a lightning storm, a witness has said.

The Oakwood Inn is understood to have caught fire at about 10am during a heavy thunderstorm which lasted about 20 minutes, with smoke visible from several streets away.

Photos shared on social media showed at least two fire engines on the scene as the fire on the rooftop was extinguished by Essex County Fire and Rescue Service.

One witness, 78-year-old June Ingham, said she was told about the fire by a carer who came to visit her address on Tuesday morning.

“A carer came to the house for my husband and she said ‘the roof at the Oakwood Inn pub’s gone up in great big flames’," she said. 

“We could see the smoke from our bungalows.

“It was well aflame – it would have to have been for us to see it from where we are.”

Mrs Ingham said the heavy thunderstorm, which passed over Holland-on-Sea during a twenty-minute spell from 10am, produced a torrential downpour as well as thunder and lightning.

“The thunderstorm was directly overhead, and the thunder was horrendous – the rain was very, very heavy.

“We had absolutely torrential rain, very bad thunder, and very bad lightning.”

The Oakwood Inn is a well-known pub within Holland-on-Sea, and is set in traditional English surroundings in Frinton Road.

The roof, which is reported to have caught fire from a lightning strike, is clad in red roof tiles.

Mrs Ingham added the thunderstorm was one of the worst in the area for several years.

“We haven’t had anything like this for a long time – my dog was frantic and so were the pensioners the carer went to see as well.

“It was a scary storm – it must have lasted about 15 to 20 minutes.”

Essex County Fire and Rescue Service and the pub have been contacted for comment.