Fire destorys home; lightning likely cause, officials say
A severe storm that passed through Cape Coral earlier this evening produced numerous lightning strikes, which appear to be the cause of a fire that destroyed a residence in the 3700 block of Southeast 17th Avenue.
A lightning strike also forced the evacuation of patrons at the Olive Garden restaurant on Pine Island Road after smoke filled the restaurant when a motor in an air handler unit burned.
At 6:24 p.m., Cape Dispatch received a 911 call reporting smoke and flames from the home at 3713 S.E. 17th Avenue. When Fire units arrived a few minutes later, the house was fully engulfed. Firefighters worked the fire for nearly hour, and finally had the flames extinguished by 7:22 p.m. There was no one home at the time of the fire. The house is a total loss. The cause of the fire is under investigation; however, a lightning strike is the likely cause.
At 7:19 p.m., the smell of smoke entering the dining room of the Olive Garden at 1910 NE Pine Island Road required a temporary evacuation of the restaurant. Firefighters found that lightning had burned an air handler motor causing the smoke. Customers were allowed to reenter the restaurant about 30 minutes later.
Source: City of Cape Coral