Nova Scotia

Windsor apartment evacuated after residents say lightning strike starts fire

An apartment building in Nova Scotia's Annapolis Valley continued to burn Thursday night after a lightning strike ignited a fire in the structure.

'It was like the loudest thunder I had ever heard in my entire life,' witness says

Crews from a number of Annapolis Valley fire departments were battling a blaze at Edgehill Manor in Windsor, N.S., on Thursday night. (Brenda Brown/CBC)

Smoke continued to pour out of an apartment building in Nova Scotia's Annapolis Valley on Thursday night after it caught fire following a lightning strike.

Cole Fleming was visiting an apartment on the top floor of Edgehill Manor in Windsor at about 2:30 p.m. when he says he felt the building get hit by lightning.  The three-storey building was previously home to the Edgehill School for Girls. 

"I can't even explain it. It was like the loudest thunder I had ever heard in my entire life. It was really, really loud," Fleming told CBC News.

Building was shaking

The building "was vibrating, like a loud shake."

Then he and his friend began hearing sirens.

A Windsor, N.S., apartment building was on fire Thursday, forcing tenants to leave their homes. (Brenda Brown/CBC)

"We didn't really know what to expect. Then as time went on, someone from the fire department came and said, 'There's a fire in the building,'" Fleming said.

All the residents were told to leave, he said. 

'Whole town is full of smoke'

He said tenants are now being accommodated at the Windsor legion.

"The whole town is full of smoke right now," he said at about 6:25 p.m.

No injuries have been reported so far.

A Windsor fire dispatcher said the fire is "still an active scene" as of 5:45 p.m.

Fleming and some of the tenants went to a nearby restaurant called the Baby Panda following the evacuation order where they waited for word on the severity of the fire.

Neighbouring fire crews called in

Baby Panda restaurant operator Jenny Lau said there were at least six fire trucks at the scene by mid-afternoon.

Her business is down the road from Edgehill Manor and she said they were "lucky" the lightning didn't hit them.

Fire crews from a number of surrounding areas including Kentville, Wolfville and Brooklyn responded to the fire. No one from the Windsor Fire Department was available for details about the blaze.