Hillsborough County Fire Rescue firefighters have controlled a large two-alarm blaze started by a lightning strike at an apartment complex in Carrollwood.
Flames and heavy smoke could be seen coming from the roof of the Grande Oasis at Carrollwood starting around 3:45 p.m. Tampa Fire Rescue assisted Hillsborough County Fire Rescue and the Sheriff's Office at the scene.
The three-story complex is located at 8699 Key Royal Lane.
Additional fire crews entered the building as well to fight the flames and help rescue some dogs that were trapped inside.
After a few minutes fire crews were forced to evacuate the building due to the intensity of the blaze. The assistance of a ladder truck were needed to help extinguish the fire from above. The fire was under control about an hour later.
Fire investigators say a maintenance worker witnessed lightning striking the building and then saw flames coming from the roof. After a complete investigation and interviews it was determined that the fire was caused by a lightning strike.
According to fire crews, 18 units were involved and the building is now a total loss. More than 50 people have been displaced. The Red Cross and the Hillsborough County Office of Emergency Management is assisting those residents.
The estimated damages are over $800,000.
All occupants and some animals were able to exit their apartments unharmed and to a safe location.