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Residents displaced after lightning sparks massive fire at Celebration apartments

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OSCEOLA COUNTY, Fla. - Several residents were displaced when a fire ripped through a building at the Evander Square at Celebration apartments Tuesday afternoon.

The fire broke out at the apartment complex on Latta Drive off Celebration Boulevard near Interstate 4. When firefighters arrived on the scene, heavy flames and smoke were coming from the roof of the 24-unit building.

Residents moved into the complex just five months ago, and now several of them are homeless.

"It took seconds. Just went up; it was pretty quick," witness Venus Price said.

The blaze started around 3 p.m. as strong storms were moving through central Florida. Fire officials said it's believed a lightning strike sparked the fire.

"It hit the building. Pretty much shake the whole neighborhood," Price said.

The fire caused significant damage to the building. Firefighters said the roof was destroyed and part of it collapsed onto the floors below.

"For someone to go through this and just lose everything is sad," witness Ana Beltran said.

Crews were checking for any hot spots or lingering fire Tuesday evening. About 20 emergency vehicles, including three ladder trucks, were called to battle the blaze.

Officials said it's fortunate no one was injured in the fire.

"I'm sorry the building is damaged. But you know what, we're all walking away from this, that's the main thing for us," said Dep. Chief Danny McAvoy with Osceola County Fire Rescue.