Firefighters stayed busy Tuesday responding to a number of weather-related service calls with their biggest problem being lightning strikes.
Two-beach front homes were the target of Mother Nature. Just before 11:00am the South Walton Fire District received a call from neighbors at the luxury Retreat neighborhood off Highway 30-A, who were calling after watching lightning strike the chimney of a nearly $3 million dollar home, catching it on fire from top to bottom.
Fire crews from Panama City Beach and Destin Fire Rescue were called in to help battle the blaze and monitor the hot spots.
The home was vacant at the time, but that wasn't the case just an hour earlier. Crews were dispatched to Gulf Shores Drive, where vacationers renting a connected duplex had a similar encounter. An apparent lightning strike caused damage to the roof and the house suffered additional smoke and flooding damage where firefighters extinguished the flames.
That band of thunderstorms that moved through the area produced over 1,500 lightning strikes in just fifteen minutes Tuesday morning.