Published: Jun 27, 2014 6:28 AM EDT
Updated: Jun 27, 2014 5:01 PM EDT

SANIBEL ISLAND, Fla. - WINK New is learning Thursday night's severe storms is the reason at least two families will have to find a new place to stay.

Cell phone video from a WINK News viewer shows flames shooting out of the Sunset South Condominiums on Middle Gulf Drive.
The fire started around 10:30 Thursday night. The units burning were empty, and no one lives in them.

Two other families in neighboring units haD left for the night because there was smoke damage and no power.

"I've been in the top two units and they are destroyed, the roof is gone, you can see the stars from the living room. There's nothing left," said Assistant Chief Matthew Scott.

"It was pretty intense for the first couple of minutes, the initial responding unit got on scene and nobody ever made entry during the fire, firefighters went in, we decided we'd go in on a defensive attack. Just for safety and we knew there was nobody in the structure."

The state fire marshal has determined lightning is to blame for the blaze.

"I heard a big loud boom which shook my place," said Property Manager Chris Schenkel.

The flames burned high, and could be seen from as far away as Fort Myers Beach.

Clean up crews say the units are destroyed.

"Just total charred. Everything is totally charred," said Vernon Leake of Fire Service Kleenup.

They say the lightning burned a hole through the roof, and left nothing by damage in its wake.

"Nothing left on the third floor. Second floor is just soaking wet from all the water," said Leake.

The two families were displaced were allowed back in their home by mid-afternoon.