Lightning cited as cause of Orlando resort fire

No one injured in massive blaze at Avanti Resort

ORLANDO, Fla. – Orange County Fire Rescue battled a fire that broke out at the Avanti Resort after one of its buildings was struck by lightning Sunday.

IMAGES:  Lightning sets Orlando resort ablaze

The 500-room resort, located on International Drive near the Orlando Eye in the tourist district of the city, was evacuated, but no injuries were reported.

"(It was) pouring rain, (and) we heard really bad clashes of lightning," Avanti Resort guest Crystal Myer said.  "One was really bad and sounded really close, and we, like, jumped."

Smoke began pouring out of the hotel, which was filled with guests, and flames could be seen miles away.

The 144-room building was evacuated as firefighters went floor to floor clearing the building.  Investigators said it appears lightning struck the center of the fourth floor of the building.


"With this fire being as aggressive as it was, it was amazing that no one was injured," a fire official said.

While lightning is believed to have sparked the fire, the State Fire Marshal's Office is investigating the exact cause.

All guests staying in the building affected by the fire were relocated to another room on property or another hotel.