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Fire above tavern in Cudahy one of many emergency crews handled after storms pushed through

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CUDAHY (WITI) -- A home in Cudahy on Monday night, June 30th was struck by lightning as strong storms pushed through -- and just blocks away, housing apartments and a tavern caught fire.

Rescue crews responded to a high number of calls on Monday night -- about 21 total in the Cudahy area alone.

It's a number they don't see too often. Neighboring agencies had to be called in.

Among the calls Monday night was one that came in from a three-story building in the 5100 block of Packard Avenue -- when a resident began to smell smoke.

The building has a tavern on the first floor, and residential units on the second and third floors.

"There were flames coming through the roof," Cudahy Fire Battalion Chief Gary Posda said.

Luckily, a resident noticed the smoke early, and called for help before fire singed a gaping hole in the roof.

"One of the people living up on the second floor noticed there was some smoke coming through the air handling system so he thought there might be something wrong with the air conditioning. He went up to the third floor and felt the walls and noticed they were very hot," Posda said.

Two tenants were upstairs.

Firefighters responded quickly and were able to evacuate the building.

Crews were able to extinguish the fire quickly, and everything was under control within about 30 minutes.

The storms that pushed through on Monday night stretched resources thin -- and Cudahy had to activate a box alarm -- calling in other departments to help out.

"It was a really busy day for us (Monday). We had transformers in the city go that knocked out power to different occupancies, from power lines down to people stuck in elevators to a lightning strike on a chimney," Posda said.

That's why it became necessary for crews from South Milwaukee, Oak Creek and St. Francis to help Cudahy in fighting this fire.

The storm caused problems for homeowners just about three blocks from where the fire broke out.

"All of a sudden we heard this crack and heard this loud bang and all ran to the back. We thought lightning struck the house. Actually, it struck the neighbor's. There were chimney bricks all over in the back," the homeowner told FOX6 News.

The lightning strike scattered debris through yards.

"We were a little scared," the homeowner said.

Thankfully, emergency crews were on the scene quickly -- evaluating the situation to make sure no one was at risk.

"The response was fabulous. They did a great job," the homeowner said.

Crews in Cudahy had an extremely busy 24 hours. Some even worked through the night.

Investigators were on the scene of the fire for awhile -- trying to determine what caused it.

The bar on the first floor was not heavily damaged, but did suffer some water damage.

Residents living on the second and third floors have been displaced for now -- until damages are totaled and repairs are made.

No one was injured as a result of the fire.

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