Officials determine that Land O’ Lakes fire likely sparked by lightning

Flooding hasn't been the only kind of natural disaster harrying Florida's Pasco County. The August 16 storm led to several reported fires, with three of them now linked to the storm's lightning.

One of the homes in question, located in Dinhurt Court in the Plantation Palms subdivision of Land O' Lakes, was actually sheared in half by lightning. The home's neighbors are still shocked that lightning could cause so much damage, and that it could cause that damage so quickly.

Footage sent to ABC Action News, however, shows massive flames launching into the sky as lightning tore through the home.

Analyzing the footage and speaking of his department's efforts to fight the fire, Shawn Whited, the Pasco Company Fire Rescue training chief says that, "The windows and roof were already fully involved. They tried to make an interior attack, but the conditions just kept getting worse and worse and worse, so they pulled back. We put the ladder trucks in service and sprayed from above the house."

On the bright side, the destroyed home is a winter vacation property, which means the owners were out of state at the time of the storm and that the house had few valuable or sentimental possessions within. 

Neighbors, like Megan Suiters expressed their shock at the event, as well as their luck and gratitude that they remained safe through the storm. "We were listening to the storm and I said, 'Wow. That sounds so close.' It sounded like it was right above us. Then we see this happened, and I was like, 'I knew it was close,'" says Suiters, adding that, "It makes you realize to not take anything for granted. You can lose anything, anytime."

Nobody was injured in the fire, and no properties other than the house received any damage. Neighbors have informed the homeowners, who had only recently purchased the property, of what happened. 

While extremely rare for a strike of lightning to inflict this level of damage, events like this do happen, and having a good insurance policy can help you get through what could otherwise be a financially crippling event.

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