Five people escaped serious injury after electricity lines from a sub-station fell on a house in south Down on Thursday night.
An electricity pole broke in the severe storms, sending the high voltage lines crashing down onto the roof of a home in St Anne’s Terrace in Mayobridge just after 10pm.
After catching fire, the flames then spread to the house next door, which sustained smoke damage at the rear.
Two elderly couples lived in the houses, one with their son who is thought to be middle-aged.
They have been named locally as Peggy and Jim Coulter and Felix and Annie Poland and are thought to be staying with relatives in Mayobridge.
A neighbour is understood to have seen sparks from the cable and was able to get all five people out of the houses.
It is believed the two couples are related.
A spokeswoman for the fire service said the flames were fanned by the high winds.
Northern Ireland Electricity crews made the site safe before the fire service began work at the scene.
The incident resulted in a major power outage in the area, but most homes had their power restored by late morning yesterday, said South Down MLA Karen McKevitt, who visited the couples with her colleague, Crotlieve councillor Gillian Fitzpatrick.
Mrs McKevitt said: “A great deal of damage was caused by gale force winds during the night. All the occupants are safe but sadly their homes were destroyed.
“We have been in contact with Northern Ireland Electricity and Roads Service and they are making every effort to deal with all reports. Stay vigilant, stay safe.”
Councillor Fitzpatrick said it is a difficult time for those involved.
“I met with the residents of St Anne’s Terrace this morning along with my party colleague Karen McKevitt,” she said. “This is a very hard time for the people who have lost their homes but I know the Mayobridge community will provide them with whatever support they need.”
She added that the local community would be supportive of both families.
“The main thing is that they are all ok,” said Councillor Fitzpatrick.
“If it had been an hour or two later I really dread to think what might have happened. I think that they are still in shock about the whole thing to be honest but friends, family and neighbours will rally round.”
A spokeswoman for NIE said the broken pole would be fixed when the winds calmed.
An NIE spokeswoman added: “A detailed assessment has been completed so that the work can be carried out safely.”