OAKLAND PARK, FLA. (WSVN) – The fire inspector is investigating the possibility that the house fire in Oakland Park may have been caused by a lightning strike.
The fire broke out at the house along Northeast Seventh Avenue, near 61st Street, Tuesday.
A woman living in the house said she barely made it out alive.
“I saw flames coming from the other room. Thank God I wasn’t sleeping,” said Tina Testaverde. “The black smoke hit me! I couldn’t find my way out!”
In the middle of a rainstorm, Testaverde, who was already dealing with a broken arm, did make it out of her Oakland Park home, scrambling over furniture in the dark to escape the flames.
“That was my biggest scare ever. My house on fire,” she said.
Testaverde said she was on her computer in the middle of the storm when she heard a loud noise.
The computer went off. Convinced that a lightning strike hit the house or at least close by, Testaverde opened the door to another room.
“And the black smoke, I couldn’t breathe!” she said.
The fire was actually reported by the Fort Lauderdale fire crew on its way to another call.
In a driving rain, firefighters worked to put out the still smoldering flames.
The man who owns the house was also able to get out safely, but two cats perished.
Pictures of burnt walls and items inside the house show there was very little left.
“That part of the house is very damaged. It’s not liveable right now. There’s heavy damage to the house,” said Oakland Park Fire Chief Steve Krivjanik.
“I was thinking that this house… Honestly, I was just thinking hopefully they’re out of the house and everybody was OK,” said neighbor Melanie Motschenbacher.
Firefighters could not say for sure if lightning caused the fire, but Testaverde thinks so, and she’s just relieved to be out.
“But anyway, thank you, Jesus,” she said.
Testaverde has been able to find a place to stay for the night.
The man who owns the house is being helped by the Red Cross.
Even though Testaverde is convinced it was a lightning strike that caused her home to go up in flames, the fire department is calling the cause undetermined.
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