Fire victims rebuild after lightning strike destroyed apartments - KCBD NewsChannel 11 Lubbock

Fire victims rebuild after lightning strike destroyed 8 apartments


The rain was desperately needed, but not everyone welcomed what came along with it. Lightning strikes are to blame for several fires that broke out Thursday night.

KCBD NewsChannel 11's Super Doppler HD3 recorded 800 to 1,200 strikes within a 5 minute period during the 9 p.m. hour over Lubbock County, with most of the strikes over the city of Lubbock.

One of those fires happened at the Hunter's Way Apartment Complex near 50th and west loop 289. The strike hit a group of apartments just after 9 p.m. Thursday. A total of 8 homes were burned, leaving nearly a dozen people homeless.

Earlier Friday people were allowed to go back into their apartment to simply pick up the pieces and rebuild.

"It's unbelievable. We are sitting in here having a good time watching the storm one minute and the next something smells hot. You search your apartment and try and figure out what it is, you open a door and there's fire," said fire victim, Cherish Gerrard.

Cherish lives with Dawn and Walt Buyea. They just moved into their second floor apartment six months ago. Unfortunately, they did not have renter's insurance and like many tenants, they never imagined they would come home to this.

"These closes are smoke damaged," said fire victim, Walt Buyea.

Paige Johnson lives step away and smelled the smoke even though it wasn't from her apartment. She says she ran over and knocked on everyone's door trying to get them out.

"There were a couple families that it took a little while. The smoke was getting really bad so we had to run down get a breath of air, and then go back up. We're just thankful the people were out of the building." said Johnson.

Cherish says most things can be replaced, but she realizes other memories are lost in the broken pieces and burnt ruble.

"I found our wedding rings and my purse," said Dawn Buyea.

Despite mostly everything destroyed and anything salvaged filled with smoke and water, Cherish still finds a way to make light of the situation.

"Those things that you think of you are like I had shrimp to make a lemon pasta shrimp for dinner what the heck," said Gerrard.

Hunter's Way Apartment Complex says they put up everyone in a different apartment at the complex.

One of the victims did not want to talk on camera, but she says this is her second apartment fire this year. She moved to the complex from the Twin Oaks Apartments that caught fire in January and left more than 20 people without a home.

There is a donation fund set up for one victim. You can go to any First Convenience Bank under Tony Bennings for the Perez Family.

For other ways to help contact Hunter's Way Apartments at (806) 797-6774.

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