Tuskegee University's West Commons C building a complete loss

Just 24 hours after lightning started a fire at an apartment complex at Tuskegee University campus, work has begun to replace what mother nature took away. As the university started assessing the damage, they quickly realized the building was a total loss. Now they're cleaning up and planning for a new building.

"flames were coming from roof and the rear."  Tuskegee University Police Sgt. Daniel Motley says it was a race against the clock, and took a team effort.. "A lot of manpower... 8-10 fire departments from surrounding areas"

In the end, the firefighters claimed victory.  "Took about 45 minutes to an hour to get the situation under control.. we were concerned about getting the people out," Sgt. Motley said.

But the apartment building is a different story.  Tory Ward, Director of Facilities, says the building is a complete loss; a building that cost about $3 million to build seventeen years ago.

The three students who were staying there have moved, and the university is working to replace what they lost. University officials are also focusing forward on the 72 students who were supposed to move in this fall, and making sure they have a place to stay.

Tuskegee University's Chief of Staff, Dr. Carlen McLin, says "we are now evaluating and assessing all dorm areas so we want to reassure returning students and new students that we have adequate housing"

Students will start arriving on campus for the fall semester classes August 8th. Those who witnessed this fire or see the aftermath will have a whole new attitude about the power of a summer storm

Fire officials believe lightning from a thunderstorm started the fire, but they're still investigating to determine the official cause..