TAMPA — Employees of a Buddy's Home Furnishings told firefighters they heard a loud boom Thursday afternoon and then saw smoke.
Tampa Fire Rescue extinguished a blaze on an outside column at the business at 2211 E Hillsborough Ave. that investigators say was caused by a lightning strike.
Crews arrived at the Eastgate Plaza at 3:39 p.m. and saw smoke pouring from the column outside the store that wasn't hooked up to anything electrical, said Lt. Danielle Spradlin, a spokeswoman for Fire Rescue.
"They attacked it aggressively," she explained.
The flames did not spread to Buddy's or the rest of the shopping plaza.
Two employees were inside during the lightning strike and evacuated two customers before crews arrived, Spradlin said.