You never expect it to hit you!
Saturday night around 9:30 p.m., my condo building Alexandria Knolls West in Alexandria, Virginia was struck by lightning. The lightning struck the roof and started a fire. The smoke went down through the elevator shafts causing much of the hallways in the building to fill with smoke. The fire and lightning shock destroyed an major electrical panel on the 8th floor causing it to explode through the wall and causing severe damage to a unit on the 8th floor of the 18 floor building. The residents of the building were evacuated and not let back into the building until after midnight. Many stayed in area hotels or with friends and relatives. Several people including 6 firefighters were brought to the hospital for smoke inhalation problems. Thankfully, nobody was seriously injured and everyone was able to exit the building. Read more about the Alexandria Knolls condo fire.
Fortunately, I was out of town on a camping and whitewater rafting trip. Unfortunately, my wife was not. She was in the building when the lightning hit. We live on the 16th floor and she said that the noise when the lightning hit was as if it were a bomb exploding. Thankfully, we live right next to the building stairway and she was able to exit without too much hassle, though she did complain about a slight amount of smoke inhalation and coughing, but was able to go about her evening and spent the night at her parent's house down by Mount Vernon, just 20 minutes away from our home.
I returned home yesterday around 2 p.m. The electricity was back on, but the building still smelled of smoke, the elevators were not functioning (that's a problem when you live on 16 and it's 90 degrees), no air conditioning, and no hot water.
To top things off, I have two condo units in the building going to settlement this week. One is my listing on the 1st floor and the other is a unit on the 4th floor where I am representing the buyer. Neither unit suffered any damage, and I've called both buyers to make sure the deals are still on (surprisingly neither of them had seen the news).
While leaving the building yesterday afternoon to head down to my in-laws house for the night, I was interviewed by Fox Channel 5 regarding the Alexandria Knolls condo fire.
Thank goodness Alexandria Knolls West is a very well constructed concrete building. People are working around the clock to get the building back into working order. I understand that the elevators should be functioning by this evening. Fans have been placed around the building to get rid of the smoke odors.
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