Irish tourists were among hundreds who avoided injury after a fire, thought to have been caused by a lightning strike, damaged a Florida hotel.

Fire services said the blaze was “more than likely” caused by a lightning strike. It’s believed that lightning struck the hotel’s roof.

Over 500 rooms at the Avanti International Resort, in Orlando, were evacuated. The resort is located near the Disneyworld theme park.

Among those tourist effected was Caroline Downey Tierney, from Ballyshannon in County Donegal. She told the BBC "It was crazy, complete bedlam."

Downey Tierney and her husband Darragh were told to leave the resort after a fire broke out on the fourth floor.

She said “We were told to pack up our stuff and go.

"Eventually we got back into our room.

"It was scary stuff - the thunder and lightning was wild."

Carla Black, from Belfast, was with her family in their room close to where the fire broke out. She said the strong winds spread the fire across the building, destroying the top floor.

She said “The lightning was mental, we could hear that it was right above our heads, and then we could smell burning.

"It was a small fire at first but I've never seen anything spread so quickly.

"We were moved out at first because of the smoke, but then the fire was looking like it might even spread to our block."

She added that a couple who had just checked in had lost all of their belongings in the fire.

On Facebook the Avanti Resort said the building is secured and the hotel is "open and operational."

On Sunday, July 5th at approximately 6:00 P.M. fire was reported at one of Avanti’s four hotel buildings. The cause of...

Posted by Avanti Resort on Monday, July 6, 2015

No one was injured in the incident. Many of the guests also praised how the resort staff handled the difficult situation.