ORANGE COUNTY, Fla. (FOX 35 ORLANDO) - A passing storm caused a scene in East Orange County when a home struck by lightning caught fire.
“We kind of thought it was all done, the rain was almost kind of done and then just crack,” said Drew Kelson, neighbor. “It wasn’t like the ‘oh, hey, you can hear it in the distance,’ it felt like it was in the house.”
“Blew out their television, some of the other electrical devices, they started smelling smoke,” said Billy Richardson, battalion chief, Orange County Fire Rescue.
Neighbors in the 13000 block of Blue Lagoon Way say they saw smoke pouring out of the home.
“All the vents were coming out with smoke,” Kelson said.
“The fire was contained to the attic. It started over the master bedroom and burned its way across the house,” Richardson said.
Everyone got out safely, but the home sustained major damage.
“They were the unfortunate ones of the day, they’re in shock, it’s horrible,” Kelson said. “They’re a great family, we just all feel horrible.”
Richardson says house fires caused by lightning strikes happens more often than one would think.
“It’s quite common, every year in Orange County we see it. Florida is one of the capitals of the world for lightning." Richardson said.
So, how do you know if your house has been hit?
“If you’ve had a close hit and your power has been knocked out, or any electrical devices, some of them just come part like they’ve been blown up, because they got that big surge in them. Start checking your stuff. If your smoke alarms go off, definitely get out, get out, see if there’s smoke, call us, don’t wait,” Richardson said.
He reminds people to seek alternate shelter if lightning is still in the area.
Fire officials confirm the home is not a complete loss, but will require heavy repairs.
A new roof, new electrical wiring and interior walls - to name a few.