Lightning strikes cited in 2 Orange County house fires

Strong storms move through Orlando area


ORLANDO, Fla. – Orange County firefighters extinguished two house fires, both of which were likely ignited by lightning strikes, officials said.

The first fire broke out around noon Tuesday at 7391 High Lake Drive in the Hiawassee Oaks subdivision.  No one was inside the two-story, 3,500-square-foot home, and the blaze was put out about an hour later, fire officials said.

The second fire ignited about 12:45 p.m. at 9197 Cypress Cove Drive in Bay Hill.  No one was inside the house, which was also a two-story, 3,500-square-foot home, officials said.

Neighbors told authorities they saw the lightning strike.

"They said there was a loud boom and someone came out and saw flames through the roof of the house next door," said Battalion Chief Robert Lee of the Orange County Fire Rescue.

No firefighters were injured in the blazes.

A strong line of storms bringing heavy rain and excessive lightning passed through Central Florida on Tuesday.

Lee said days like Tuesday where thousands of lightning strikes, creates special challenges for emergency responders.

"It was difficult because we had multiple incidents working at the same time, so our resources we're strapped," Lee said. "But we were able to get here to stop the fire from progressing. That's always our goal, to get everyone out and stop the fire."

Firefighters said they haven't been able to contact the owner of the home, 87-year-old Florine Belliveau.