Celebration apartment to be demolished after fire

Lightning strike ignites fire as severe weather hits Central Florida

11pm Celebration Apartment Fire
11pm Celebration Apartment Fire

ORLANDO, Fla. – An apartment building damaged by a large fire in Celebration on Tuesday will need to be demolished, according to the Osceola County Fire Chief.

Osceola fire officials said lightning likely caused the blaze, which ignited on Latta Street at the 24-unit Evander Square Apartments. Three floors collapsed during the fire.

There were no reports of injuries, but Osceola fire officials said several people were concerned about their pets inside of the building.

Josue Alicea said he was at work when the fire ignited and his cat, Charlie Jasper, jumped three stories to safety.

"The cat just had burned paws, some scratches.  So far ... he's OK," he said.

"I saw a few people that looked like they worked at Disney that ran home when they heard it was on fire and were pretty upset, crying and kind of hugging each other," said Greg Taussig, who lives in the complex. "I feel terrible. There are a lot of good people in this building and a lot of people that are working in the area, and I just can't imagine bouncing back from having your house burn down or at least damaged."

The fire forced officials to close Celebration Boulevard near the Interstate 4 entrance.

Severe thunderstorm and other weather warnings were issued Tuesday in Central Florida as a line of storms trekked across the region.