Buy Alexandria Real Estate: When Lightning Strikes... Your Condo!

Alexandria Virginia Real Estate Blog

When Lightning Strikes... Your Condo!

 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.

Alexandria Knolls West is a great building in the West End of Alexandria and a terrific place to live.  The most important thing is that nobody was seriously injured.  Thank God! 

 

 

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Comment balloon 19 commentsBrian Block • August 27 2007 01:56PM

Comments

Cool pic in the top right-hand.

Also cool that you got some publicity out of the mess. 

Posted by Jeff R. Geoghan, REALTOR, Marketing Manager (Coldwell Banker Residential Brokerage) over 10 years ago
Thank goodness no one was injured. A high rise is always a risky living area when these disasters ..natural or not....hit. 
Posted by Celeste "SALLY" Cheeseman, (RA) AHWD CRS ePRO OAHU HAWAII REAL ESTATE (Century 21 Liberty Homes) over 10 years ago
Brian, it is an amazing experience when things like this happen.  No one hurt a good thing...elevators out a bad thing when on the 16th.  I was surprised you didn't trade for the 1st floor, it was available!  Nice post.  Glad the wife was ok and where's the pics from rafting?
Posted by Gary White~Grand Rapids Home Selling Pro Call: 616-821-9375, Real Estate Services You can Trust! (Flexit Realty "Flexible Home Selling Solutions") over 10 years ago
JEFF:  Thanks for your comments.  That picture of the lightning is not one I took, but rather a stock photo of lightning, though it is pretty neat.  It was great that I got interviewed for the local t.v. news about the lightning and fire and mess in the building.  Unfortunately they cut out the part (plug) where I mentioned that I was a Realtor and had two units for sale.
Posted by Brian Block, Northern Virginia & D.C. Real Estate (RE/MAX Allegiance, Managing Broker/Branch Vice President) over 10 years ago
SALLY:  Thanks for your thoughts.  Last night the elevators came back on -- they're still working on A/C and hot water.  Sure, a high rise does pose more risk, but we love the view from the 16th floor!
Posted by Brian Block, Northern Virginia & D.C. Real Estate (RE/MAX Allegiance, Managing Broker/Branch Vice President) over 10 years ago
GARY:  It certainly has been an experience.  I didn't want the 1st floor unit -- quite a bit smaller than ours and not much of a view. Thank goodness everyone is ok.  I'm waiting on my friend to burn the pictures from rafting to a CD.  It was Class 5 rapids -- fun, but very scary and dangerous.  I fell in 3 times, but only have a small scratch on my knee.  One guy twisted his ankle, but luckily out of 14 people, no major injuries.
Posted by Brian Block, Northern Virginia & D.C. Real Estate (RE/MAX Allegiance, Managing Broker/Branch Vice President) over 10 years ago
Brian - Wow! Pretty scary. I was in a cottage once that was hit by lightening. Your wife is right on - it sounds like an explosion. Glad no one was hurt. Like your pictures too....nice presentation.
Posted by Bill Gassett, Metrowest Massachusetts Real Estate (RE/MAX Executive Realty) over 10 years ago
BILL:  I actually had a friend earlier this year who had his home hit by lightning as well.  I went up and down the stairs yesterday to take some of the photos.  Luckily the elevators are back on, but I had to take a cold shower this morning.
Posted by Brian Block, Northern Virginia & D.C. Real Estate (RE/MAX Allegiance, Managing Broker/Branch Vice President) over 10 years ago
Brian - That is a scary situation, especially since you were away when it happened.  I am glad to hear that everyone was okay.  Cool that you were on TV!  Also, it's good to know that your two deals are still on track.
Posted by Jason Crouch, Broker - Austin Texas Real Estate (512-796-7653) (Austin Texas Homes, LLC) over 10 years ago
They cut out your plug! Too funny...guess they didn't consider it news.  keep trying.
Posted by Jeff R. Geoghan, REALTOR, Marketing Manager (Coldwell Banker Residential Brokerage) over 10 years ago
JASON:  Yes, very scary indeed.  Pretty ironic -- my wife was worried about me on the rapids and thought she was safe in our home over the weekend!  I'm glad everybody is okay too.  I just hope they get the A/C on soon -- it's about 90 degrees and muggy today -- typical August in the D.C. area.  And yes, one deal is going to settlement tomorrow morning at 10 a.m.  Both sellers just want to see things finalized and certainly have been very nervous the last few days.
Posted by Brian Block, Northern Virginia & D.C. Real Estate (RE/MAX Allegiance, Managing Broker/Branch Vice President) over 10 years ago
JEFF:  I tried. And I'll keep trying.  At least when people search for our condo on Google, my blog and website come up 4 or 5 times on the first page.  I noticed a spike in traffic yesterday.
Posted by Brian Block, Northern Virginia & D.C. Real Estate (RE/MAX Allegiance, Managing Broker/Branch Vice President) over 10 years ago
UPDATE:  Unit 105 successfully settled Wednesday morning and the new owner is moving in tomorrow!  Unit 405 is expected to settle on Friday.
Posted by Brian Block, Northern Virginia & D.C. Real Estate (RE/MAX Allegiance, Managing Broker/Branch Vice President) over 10 years ago
WOW! What timing! I just read this post about your lightning strike in your condo after I just wrote my post about lightning.    And you commented on my post and now I am reading your post just a few days before- how spooky! I am glad you are fine and your wife too! Thank GOD she was not hurt. Great post, everyone needs to be aware of the seriousness of lightning! Katerina
Posted by Katerina Gasset, Get It Done For Me Virtual Services (Get It Done For Me Virtual Services ) over 10 years ago
KATERINA:  Yes, it can be very scary.  We're very thankful and blessed that we didn't suffer any harm or serious damage.  Things are getting back to normal at our condo, though cleaning crews and electrical repair crews are here 5 days a week still.  Probably another 2 weeks until everything is normal again.
Posted by Brian Block, Northern Virginia & D.C. Real Estate (RE/MAX Allegiance, Managing Broker/Branch Vice President) over 10 years ago
Holy molly, wow, now that is this wicked weather indeed, I guess that ought to wake everyone up as to the dangers of lightning! Lance
Posted by Lance Winslow (The Car Wash Guy) over 10 years ago
LANCE:  Thanks for your comment.  Several units in the building did suffer severe damage and 1 or 2 are STILL being repaired.  Other than that, the building is back to normal.  We did have that huge generator outside the building for about 3 months!
Posted by Brian Block, Northern Virginia & D.C. Real Estate (RE/MAX Allegiance, Managing Broker/Branch Vice President) over 10 years ago
Wow!  I am glad that your wife was okay!  Good luck with the whole remediation process!
Posted by Rachel Clem (Preferred Real Estate Services) over 10 years ago
RACHEL:  Thanks.  Luckily we didn't have any damage to our unit and everything is back to normal in our building -- though the entire Fall was a big pain with all the work going on around our building.
Posted by Brian Block, Northern Virginia & D.C. Real Estate (RE/MAX Allegiance, Managing Broker/Branch Vice President) over 10 years ago

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