Orange County homes catch fire after being struck by lightning

Radar shows more than 250 bolts of lightning in 1 hour

ORANGE COUNTY, Fla. – Fire crews in Orange County responded to several fires involving lightning on Tuesday evening.

News 6 Pinpoint Radar showed there were about 250 bolts of lightning in Orange County just between 4:30 and 5:30 p.m. Tuesday.

Fire officials said at about 5 p.m., a bolt of lightning hit the roof of a home on South Lakewood Avenue in Ocoee. 

"We've been having two or three fires -- lightning fires -- a week," said Tommy Miller with the American Red Cross. "It can creep up on you, too. It can hit your house and (you) not even know it until hours later when you hear something and smell something smoldering. So to me, that's dangerous ... that it doesn't happen right away."

Fire officials said no one was inside the home at the time of the lightning strike and fire. The home has been declared uninhabitable until the building inspector can investigate on Wednesday.

"It's a surprise, you know? You hear it (and) you feel it, but you don't know what's really going on until it happens to you," Miller said. "In Florida, it can happen anytime."

Orlando fire officials also said a lightning bolt caused a fire at a town home on Dijon Drive at about 5 p.m. Tuesday.

"You have to act real fast. If you panic that's it," said Bernaido Santiago, who was inside the town home at the time.

He said he used his training as a school maintenance supervisor to quickly use a fire extinguisher to put out the flames.​

The American Red Cross emphasized the importance of renter's insurance. The organization said that often crews respond to a fire that started from a lightning strike and the property owner has insurance, but the tenant does not. This leaves the renter without the resources to either replace their belongings and afford a place to temporarily stay.

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