An early morning lightning strike is blamed for starting a fire at a multi-million dollar beach house in Walton County.
Neighbors told investigators that they saw a bolt of lightning strike near the house at 145 Paradise By The Sea Boulevard at about 5:30 a.m. It took 3-1/2 hours for smoke and flames to begin coming through the third floor roof.
Firefighters from the South Walton Fire District and Panama City Beach Fire Department had the fire out about an hour after receiving the call.
Damage to the $9.6 million house is estimated at $1.6 million. No one was home when the fire broke out.