Cat survives 3-story jump from building fire in Celebration; Residents collect belongings

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CELEBRATION, Fla. - Several residents are trying to salvage their belongings Wednesday, following a fire that ripped through their building at the Evander Square at Celebration apartments Tuesday afternoon.

Fire officials said that the blaze started in the attic, and then spread throughout the 24-unit building.

The building has almost completely collapsed on the inside, and residents are salvaging what they can with hard hats and with the help of a salvage crew.

A cat managed to jump from the third story window to escape the flames, and a witness caught it on video.

In the video, the cat seems to try to climb down the wall, but then simply falls to the ground, and then can be seen running across the parking lot.

“So, it jumped out of the third-floor window, landed on the cement and just ran away. I mean, it didn’t bounce or anything,” said fire victim Jim Cooke.

People inside the building and the cat were in real danger, officials said.

The cat may have jumped out just in time because the fire caused the roof of the building to collapse and the debris fell down to the first floor.

Residents said they were stunned as they gathered what was left of their belongings.

The fire started from a lightning strike during a huge storm Tuesday.  

However, the fire did not spark until about 20 minutes after the strike.

Cooke said there was no mistake that it was a lightning strike.

"Oh, there is no doubt about it. You know, I was in the field artillery and this was louder than any shell I ever heard," said Cooke.

Meanwhile, the fire chief said they found the cat a short distance away and it was purring when a rescuer picked it up and returned it to its owner.

No one was injured in the fire.

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