• Lightning sparks fire at I-Drive resort

    Updated:

    ORANGE COUNTY, Fla. - Firefighters are checking for hot spots Monday following a massive fire at resort on International Drive.

    Firefighters were dispatched to the Avanti Resort at 6 p.m. Sunday after flames flared from the center of the roof of one of the resort’s buildings.

    According to the Avanti Report's Facebook page, the cause of the fire was reported to be lightning.

    The fire destroyed the building’s roof and fourth floor, Battalion Chief Charles Smith said.


    Photos: Avanti Resort on I-drive catches fire

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    The fire forced an evacuation of the building's 144 rooms.

    Damage prevented guests from returning to those rooms, Smith said.

    "From what we can see, the lightning hit on top of our room, because our room is where the roof collapsed," said visitors Nicola Creig and Iain Anderson. "[We were] very unlucky. So, we've managed to save passports and money, but we've lost two weeks' worth of clothes, park tickets, and jewelry. So, what can you do?"

    The hotel’s management said those guests have been accommodated.

    "With the fire as aggressive as it was, it was amazing no one was injured,” Smith said.

    The Andersons said they heard hotel employees banging on their door. Their room was one of the estimated 500 evacuated.

    "We're just trying to stay positive. We've had our tears," said the Andersons.

    No one was injured by the fire, which took nearly two hours to extinguish.

    Smith said firefighters will monitor the charred building throughout the night to ensure hotspots don’t rekindle the fire.

    The hotel’s amenities, public facilities and three out of the four buildings remain operational, management said.

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