Lightning strike ignites fire at storage complex in West Plains, Mo.

WEST PLAINS, Mo. -- Early morning storms produced quite a bit of lightning in the West Plains area.

The owners of York Storage and firefighters say that a man down the road, saw lightning strike in the area. Originally, he thought it had hit the movie theater right next door, but soon realized the storage units were hit.

It happened around 8:15 Thursday morning.

Howell County Rural Fire Department and West Plains Firefighters responded quickly and were able to keep the fire from spreading to other units.

In all around 20 units are completely damaged.

The owners say only three units were empty.

The fire was so hot it did melt the siding on other units.

Firefighters say this type of fire is difficult because these units are two-sided storage units and once they would open one up to attack the fire, oxygen would feed the fire on the other side.

Equipment was used to pull items out of the units so firefighters could get in and hit hot spots.

There is now two piles of people's belongings: there are books, furniture, shoes, lots of clothing and many other items.

Ronnie Rainwater just lost his wife a month ago and had put many of her things in storage. He fears it is all gone.

"We used to bowl in a bowling league. We had our bowling balls, our bags, our shoes....just sentimental stuff of hers in there," Rainwater told KY3.

The owners have tried contacting everyone with a unit that has burned.

They say if renters had paid their rent in advance for September, they will get that rent money back.

They say if any renters had homeowners insurance, give your insurance company a call.

The piles of belongings will be there for a few days for people to come by and see if they can salvage any belongings.