GRAVENHURST — A thunderous lightning clap about midnight today has left four more families homeless after igniting a suspected fire, which destroyed a third multi-plex apartment building in the downtown in the past three months.

Gravenhurst Fire was on scene at 12 a.m. Monday for the fire at 325 Hughson St., which fire officials estimate the damage at $500,000.

They say the home, on the west side of town near the Wharf, was insured and that all displaced residents are being temporarily assisted by Muskoka Victim Services.

The fire investigation into the origin and cause is ongoing, however in a tweet this afternoon they say the source is suspected to be lightning.

Fire services left the scene about 4 a.m.

The owner of the home who was still on site this afternoon after “being up all night,” said a tenant told him she saw the lightning strike from her window looking north.

The fire follows one at the end of August on First Street in which a woman was found dead leaving five families homeless. That building was torn down this week.

And another earlier this month on First Street in which two other apartments were burned in a $250,000 fire that also left them without residences.

Just as a snowfall began late Sunday night firefighters were battling a blaze that took them four hours to bring under control and put out. (GFD photo)
The back of he building suffered the most of the exterior damage, fire officials estimate at $500,000 to the four-unit housing complex.
The house at 325 Hughson St. is believed to have been struck by lightning. (GFD photo)
Firefighters pour water on the side of the house in which everyone got out safely. (GFD photo)
A snow-covered fire pit sits in the backyard of the home where four families had to flee and are being helped with housing by Muskoka Victim Services.
Owner Mark was busy on the phone all day taking calls and dealing with insurance people, he said.
Little damage could be seen from the front of the house, which owner Mark said a tenant told him they could see lightning hit it.