Two lightning strikes suspected as cause in Lenexa and Overland Park apartment & house fires

LENEXA, Kan. -- Two apartment buildings in Lenexa were evacuated Friday morning after a fire at the Park Edge apartments on Renner Rd., across from Shawnee Mission Park.

Residents of the complex say the fire started just before 2:00 a.m. at one of the apartment buildings.

"It woke me up with a big clap of thunder and then a big boom. I thought, 'Oh my. That was very close with the lightning strike," said Peggy Minter, who lives next door.

Fire investigators had not yet determined if the fire was started by lightning, but that's what most residents suspect because of what they heard and felt right before the fire.

"I was sound asleep so I heard a loud knock and then, 'Fire! Fire! Fire!' I thought I was dreaming. I heard it again this time more impressively," said Jose Rodriguez, who lives one unit away from the one that caught fire. "I was in a state of confusion. I was discombobulated."

Rodriguez said he ran back inside to grab his suitcase and some clothes.

"In the 20 seconds I was grabbing my stuff,... by the time I came out to the living room there was smoke... in the living room," he said.

Eight apartments were involved affecting 14 residents. There were four pets inside; three have been located. A cat remains missing.

Residents credit two men; Abraham and Jason for going around all the apartments, knocking on doors to get people out.

In Overland Park, a lightning strike is also the likely cause of a house fire in the 8500 block of W. 155th Street. Just after 4:00 a.m., firefighters from Overland Park and Leawood Fire Departments were called out and found smoke and fire coming out of the roof. All residents were out of the house and firefighters knocked down the fire in about 30 minutes.

The homeowner reported hearing a loud boom, and then the smoke alarms began sounding. No one was injured. The three adults in the home are being assisted by the Red Cross.