TAMPA — At least 12 lightning strikes around Hillsborough County on Wednesday afternoon caused trees to topple and small fires as firefighters rushed to respond during the storm.
The bolts set fire to five homes, four trees, two poles and a transformer, according to the Hillsborough County Fire Rescue. But there was no major damage to the homes.
"This is one of our first big blasts of summer season, but this is normal," said Chief Craig Lynn. "When the summer comes, we get these strikes. We'll have other days, but today was bad enough."
Trees fell on two homes in Brandon and Riverview, but no one was injured.
Hillsborough County Fire Rescue evacuated 421 Deborah Lane in Brandon after a large oak tree struck by lightning split and a large limb pierced the house's roof. Seven adults lived in the home, two elderly and one with special needs, Lynn said. The seven residents were being relocated by the American Red Cross. The house next door was also temporarily evacuated because a downed power line fell onto its roof.
Also, a 40-foot pine tree fell on top of 12806 Cattail Shore Lane in Riverview but firefighters said the damage was minor. No injuries were reported and the family was allowed to stay in the home.
"It was just busy from 7 p.m. on," Lynn said. "The calls just started coming in and they keep going."