Fire forces families to evactuate; lightning possible cause

Four apartments suffer fire, water damage

Published On: Jun 10 2013 11:12:57 PM EDT   Updated On: Jun 10 2013 11:15:08 PM EDT

Fire forced several families to evacuate their homes Monday evening at the Lake Tyler Condominiums off Holden Avenue in Orlando.

As many as four families are without homes and two more could be forced to stay somewhere else because of smoke damage.

It took dozens of fire fighters to keep flames from spreading across connecting buildings just after 6:30.

Carmen Rivera came home to see smoke in her upstairs apartment. and ran out just in time, but lost the family dog and everything they own.

'When I looked back, everything was on fire," said Rivera. "I lost everything."

Firefighters think it started in the attic above her unit and spread to another upstairs apartment.

Downstairs, Micah Joseph was asleep with her kitten beside her.

"I just woke up to the banging on the door and they were like, 'It's a fire, it's a fire!' I was looking for the cat and I heard explosions. Stuff was breaking. Glass was blowing up. I didn't know what was going on. I just had to run out and leave her because I couldn't get her," said Joseph.

Firefighters found the 3 month old kitten cowering in an upstairs unit after it had somehow ran the wrong way toward the flames, but managed to survive.

"I was just overjoyed," said Joseph. "I can't believe they found her. I thought she was gone."

Firefighters hope to find the cause, but believe lightning may be a factor.

Assistant Chief Jeff Holton with Orange County Fire/Rescue said, "Some of the residents here said they had lightning strikes in the area obviously before the fire started but we can't confirm if that was the cause or not at this point."

The fire marshal will have to make the final determination on what exactly caused this fire.