Cat jumps 3 stories to escape Celebration apartment fire ignited by lightning

Lightning strike ignites fire as severe weather hits Central Florida

Local 6 News at Noon
Local 6 News at Noon

ORLANDO, Fla. – A lightning strike sparked a large fire in Celebration on Tuesday and caused a cat to jump three stories to safety.

[MORE INFO:  Live radar | Temperatures | PICS: Fire ignites]

Osceola fire officials said the blaze ignited on Latta Street at the 24-unit Evander Square Apartments, destroying all the units.

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 on Tuesday and his cat, Charlie Jasper, jumped three stories to safety.

"The cat just had burned paws, some scratches so far that I know 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.

Thunderstorm warnings were issued for Brevard, Orange, Seminole, Marion and Polk counties earlier in the day. 

Temperatures warmed to 87 degrees in Orlando.

"Behind the front, temperatures will be 10 degrees cooler," Bridges said.

Wednesday's high temperature will reach 77 degrees, with a 20 percent chance of rain.

The overnight low into Thursday morning will be in the mid-60s.

"Rain chances will be on and off at 30 percent through Saturday, with highs back in the mid-80s by the weekend," Bridges said.

Easter Sunday will be dry, with a high in the mid-80s.

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