Lightning believed to have caused Hoover apartment fire that displaced dozens

(Clint Edwards |

Hoover officials believe lightning caused a fire that displaced more than two dozen apartment residents Wednesday afternoon.

Residents in Riverchase Landing Apartments were forced to evacuate after the suspected lightning strike caught a couple of units on fire.

"Two things came to mind when I first got the call. First of all, the serenity prayer. [There's] nothing I can do about it and if this is what God wants to happen, it's going to happen regardless of what I can do; I’m an hour and a half away...There's several kids that live in my building so I’m just glad no one was hurt," resident Lloyd Hill said.

Hill still doesn't know if his property is ok, especially after the amount of smoke he witnessed pouring into his apartment.

Hill is just one of dozens of people impacted by the blaze, and some are worse off. That's where people like Matt Smith with ‘Hatching Hope’ come in.

"We provide the first night kits for the residents. We provide air mattress, pillows, blankets, toiletries; we provide kids' kits, pets' kits and baby backpacks,” said Smith.

Eighteen units were occupied and at last check, the majority of those had to be vacated. It's a tough time but Hill says it could be worse.

"Material stuff can be replaced...My stuff is [ok] but even if it wasn't, it could be replaced. [At least there was] no loss of life,” said Hill.

Authorities will inspect the 18 units in the complex before residents are permitted to reenter. According to Hoover Fire Captain Rusty Lowe, most residents will not be able to return to the complex until repairs are completed.

Red Cross teams are also expected to provide aid to the affected renters.

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