SANTA ROSA BEACH, Fla. - One home and several businesses in South Walton are destroyed after multiple lightning strikes from a storm system Monday night caused massive fires.
The house was located at the corner of Flamingo Drive and C.R. 30A, and the business was near the Okaloosa-Walton county line.
"It wasn't until I came at sunrise this morning- I don't think it was until that time that I was like it's all gone," said Tim Creehan of his business Cuvee Catering in Miramar Beach. "This was a room with no walls. So all these burnt 2 by 4's are all roof structure."
Creehan received a call around 8:30 Monday night notifying him one of his businesses had been struck by lightning. By the time he arrived, the structure was consumed.
"You can see how vaulted and high the roof was at one point," said Creehan. "And now it's just flat."
South Walton Fire District worked to get the blaze under control, but it wasn't long before the roof collapsed.
"And then the second call came in 20 minutes later of an actual residential property that was hit by lightning," said Sammy Sanchez, the Fire Marshal.
A few miles east off Flamingo Drive, Linda and Gary Waldrup's home also quickly caught fire.
"It just happened in four minutes, four minutes maybe," said Linda. "I mean it was fast. It was fast. Looked out of the bedroom window. It was just a huge orange glow."
Crews worked to contain the fire in the roof while also taking the time to preserve some valuable items in their home.
"Those guys were so good," said Waldrup. "They realized that it was old antique and they brought it out. They carried the table out to the garage."
Firefighters not only saved bigger items but also a framed flag and plaque from Linda's father's time in service.
No one was injured in either of those fires, but both the Waldrup's and Creehan believe their structures are total losses.
A third, small fire caused by lightning was discovered in Alys Beach Tuesday morning, but the damage was minimal.
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