A DeLand automobile customization shop on DeLand’s south side caught fire around 2 p.m. June 24.
Mudd Thumpin’ Customs owner Charlie Zook III said he was inside when the fire started and believes lightning from an afternoon thunderstorm started the blaze.
“We were working on a car when we heard a loud crack of thunder, a bunch of pops, and then the whole building was full of smoke,” Zook told The Beacon.
Zook and an employee were the only two inside the 1211 S. Woodland Blvd. building, he said, and they quickly evacuated.
No one was injured, City of DeLand spokesman Chris Graham said.
Four fire units — including two from the DeLand Fire Department and two from the Volusia County Fire Department — responded to the scene at 1:43 p.m., according to Graham. Firefighters also received support from the Orange City and Deltona fire departments.
DeLand Police officers were diverting traffic on South Woodland Boulevard at West New Hampshire and West Vermont avenues. Traffic, Graham said, is expected to be shut down near the site of the fire until at least 4 p.m., possibly longer.
Drivers are asked to avoid the area around the fire.
Around 2:30 p.m., DeLand Fire Chief Todd Allen said very little was known about the cause of the fire. The blaze began before 2 p.m. and, around 2:15 p.m., firefighters were hosing down the building from a bucket truck and trying to prevent the fire from spreading to the adjoining buildings.
Damage, Allen said, looked to be localized to the front of the building on South Woodland Boulevard. A structure at the back of the building housing Zook’s business, Zook said, seemed to be preventing the fire from spreading.
By 3 p.m., firefighters were mostly eliminating still-hot spots of the building.
Graham told The Beacon officials believe Zook may be right and that the fire may have been caused by a lightning strike.
“Preliminarily, officials are investigating lightning as a possible cause as a large storm was in the area at the time,” Graham said. “The State Fire Marshal’s Office has been asked to assist in the investigation.”
DeLand Fire is investigating the cause of the incident.
This is a developing story, and we will update this page with more information as we receive it.