Hundreds of lightning strikes in EBR storm
BATON ROUGE- Nearly 400 lightning strikes hit East Baton Rouge Parish within a span of five minutes early this morning. One bolt struck the Louisiana Realtors Association building just after 5 a.m. causing a fire that destroyed the building.
It happened on Bennington Avenue near College Drive. Firefighters received a call about 30 minutes after the strike, but it took nearly three hours to get under control.
Firefighters arrived to the scene to find the west side of the building fully engulfed in flames. Officials said a portion of the roof began to collapse soon after.
"It looks like it really destroyed all the office buildings, all the offices we have here. My best guess is they're going to have to tear it down and rebuild," said Pat Wattam, President of the Greater Baton Rouge Association of Realtors.
Crews managed to contain the flames to the west side of the building, but the rest of the structure sustained heavy smoke and water damage.
Wattam said the fire is a good reminder to go over your emergency plans and take an inventory of your belongings.
"Make sure you have a great inventory of your possessions and that means not just a written inventory, but I tell my clients to take your camera, go through the house, and take pictures and take video," said Wattam.
Investigators say the fire caused more than $1 million in damage.