MARYLAND HEIGHTS, Mo. (KMOV.com) – A lightning strike may have caused a house in Maryland Heights to catch on fire Wednesday, leaving an 85-year-old man homeless.James Fortune, 85, says his legs don’t work but he was able to pull himself out his chair and crawl out of his home.“Lightning struck the house, shook the whole house, the minute it did it filled with smoke, completely filled with smoke. I pulled open the door and crawled on out,” said Fortune. The fire happened around 2:30 Wednesday afternoon. Multiple agencies responded to the fire trying to get it under control but there were many challenges.
There was a propane tank and ammunition in the house, causing a danger to crews. “There was a big explosion I mean a big one,” said Fortune. Acting Battalion Chief Bob Rauss said the weather also caused a challenge for crews. “The wind picked up and caused excessive smoke conditions, crew had minimal vision where they had to back away from the building,” he said. They also had to bring water from more than 1/3 a mile away. Crews did all they can but the house James Fortune spent more than 80 years in, is gone. “I built the house by hand, for years and years, I built the house,” said Fortune.But he's counting his blessing, he and his dog survived and are safe.“There you go if you believe in the Lord, He will make a way out of no way, and He made a way out when there was no way.”
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