Lightning causes Hillsborough condo fire - WFLA News Channel 8

Lightning causes Hillsborough condo fire

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Courtesy Kuston disaster recovery and restoration Courtesy Kuston disaster recovery and restoration
HILLSBOROUGH COUNTY, FL (WFLA) -

More than 50 people are out of their homes after a bolt of lightning touched off a fire at a Grand Oasis condominium complex in Carrollwood on Monday.

The fire raced through the upper floors, damaging 18 units.

A roaring inferno greeted Hillsborough fire rescue crews.

A maintenance worker told firefighters he heard a loud crack of thunder and saw lightning hit the building. The storm moved off quickly and left devastation behind.

People who live here could only watch in despair. Despite the intensity, everyone got out.

Paul McManus walks dogs for a living. For a time, he worried two small poodles on the third floor would die if he didn't get them out.

As the fire crept closer, Hillsborough fire rescue crews went in.

“The flames above their head, I could see it all from the street. They were amazing. They went up the stairs. I gave them the keys to get in. They went inside, grabbed the cage and let the other one out of the cage and brought them down, little dogs were shaking, but they're fine and they're great,” said McManus.

Fire crews managed to save 6 of the 24 units in this building.

Some lost everything.

“All our baby's clothes and cribs and everything else. But thank god none of my kids weren't there, and my wife and I was not there either,” said Sal Gul, another resident of the condo complex.

The Red Cross stepped up to help victims of this fire. Their lives are now turned upside down.

“Most of us are coming home. We haven't eaten anything. We just want to get back into our norm, take a shower, tape a nap, but at this point, who knows what?” said Ben Wright.

Damage estimate is $800,000.

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