In the morning, the entire roof of a large country house is engulfed in flames from a lightning strike.

A serious fire broke out at a large house in Henley Old Road, Easebourne, near Petworth, at around 7.30am this morning.

West Sussex The fire and rescue service reported that seven fire trucks and the command were on the scene.

The narrow road had to be closed while firefighters extinguished the fire.

One witness said he had “never seen anything like it”.

A fire service spokesman said: “We were called by residents after an apparent lightning strike.

“The fire engulfed the entire roof and caused significant damage.

Argus: Fire engines on a nearby roadFire trucks on the nearby road (Image: Steve Johnson)

“There is a large presence from West Sussex Fire Service, assisted by our colleagues from Surrey and Hampshire.

“Please avoid the area if possible and keep your windows and doors closed if you live nearby.

“Fire engines from Midhurst, Petworth, Chichester, Billingshurst, Liphook, Haslemere, Farnham and a command post from Bognor Regis are in attendance.”

This came after the Met Office issued a yellow warning for thunderstorms for most of the country.

The warning is in place in Sussex from 4am today until 5am tomorrow.

A spokeswoman for the Met Office said: “A band of heavy rain will move north by Sunday morning, followed by isolated heavy showers and isolated thunderstorms in the afternoon.”

Argus: Flames on the roofFlames on the roof (Image: Steve Johnson)

The nearby Duke of Cumberland Arms pub was forced to close all morning due to road closures during the fire.

Simon Goodman, head chef and owner, said: “We are closed for lunch, we may open for drinks in the evening. Depending on what is happening in the village, there are fire engines everywhere.

“The fire service attended between about 7am and 7.30am. I think the building was struck by lightning during the night.

“We closed the pub because it’s a single track narrow road and they had to use the water supply so we had no water this morning.

“We’re closed for Sunday lunch, we’ve had to turn away 100 people. Everything will be fine with us, we just hope that everyone in the village will be fine.

“Now we make bacon sandwiches for the fire department.”