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Lightning Strike Blamed For 2-Alarm Apartment Fire That Displaced 14 Units

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Leong Tracey Bio 370x278 Tracey Leong
Tracey Leong joined WJZ Eyewitness News in July 2014 as a general...
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LAUREL, Md. (WJZ) — Lightning strikes an Anne Arundel County apartment complex, causing a massive blaze. It sparked Tuesday during the thunderstorms that rolled through.

Tracey Leong has the story.

The two-alarm fire affected 14 apartments. People living there described it as one of the worst things they’d ever seen.

Sky Eye Chopper 13 captured the flames shooting up from the Laurel Apartments on Piney Woods Place.

“It was a horrible sound, sounded like a jet plane going over dropping a bomb,” said William Shenton.

“I heard this big sound like `boom!’ I was like, `Oh my God, something’s hit,” said Gladys Milligan.

Neighbors Shenton and Milligan were inside when the lightning hit their building.

“It struck right in the center of the roof and was a fireball,” said Shenton.

The blaze ripped through the roof, destroying the upper level. Fire crews contained it in less than two hours.

Toussaint Lewis lives in the units right across the way. He watched it all unfold from his balcony.

“We could feel the heat. Once it was raging, we could feel the heat,” he said.

Tuwauna Reid also lives in the complex. She’s shocked lightning did this much damage.

“I’ve never seen nothing like that before. I mean, we get lightning and thunder and maybe some floods but not like that,” she said.

Many of the units had major smoke and water damage. About 30 people were displaced, all making it out safely. Now they’re trying to pick up the pieces and move on.

Right now, crews are assessing the damage. There is still no time estimate on when people will be allowed to return home.

The American Red Cross is providing assistance of eight of the families affected by the fire.

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