HOUSTON – Investigators said lightning was to blame for an apartment fire in northwest Harris County.
As crews boarded up doors and windows, Joanna Smith stared at her charred apartment Monday morning. The roof was missing and all her belongings were destroyed.
"Everything I have, everything I worked for and I'm a single mother, really by myself, so it's kinda hard, so that's why I'm like, 'I can't believe this happened,'" Smith said.
The massive flames caught on cell phone video Sunday night.
"Lightning struck the roof of my apartment," Serena Rogers said.
The lightning started the fire at the apartment complex on Wunderlich near Cypress Creek Parkway at about 10 p.m. Sunday.
Rogers called 911.
"He was just telling me to grab whatever I could grab and get out and get everybody out of the building," Rogers said.
"Somebody just started beating on my door really hard and I opened the door and she was like, 'Get out of your house. My apartment's on fire,'" Smith said.
With only the clothes on their backs, Smith grabbed her four children and escaped. The other 16 families did, too.
"Then it just kinda collapsed and started burning up really fast," Smith said.
The single mother said she and her family will recover.
"I feel like I'm gonna be OK because there's so many people around me," Smith said.
The Red Cross helped the displaced families.
The apartment management was working to relocate families to vacant apartments.
One person was treated for smoke inhalation.