Teenager shocked by nearby lightning strike in Greene County

Published: May. 19, 2022 at 3:26 PM CDT
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BATTLEFIELD, Mo. (KY3) - Firefighters expect a teenager to be okay after a nearby lightning strike shocked him Thursday outside a home in Battlefield.

It happened at 5100 Block S. Briarwood Crossing Court around midday. The lightning strike hit a puddle of water.

Investigators say the teenager did not take a direct hit. Firefighters found the teenager face down. He later regained consciousness.

Emergency crews transported him to a hospital.

Neighbors also quickly went outside after the thunder and lightning startled them. When they realized the teenager was on the ground, they quickly ran to help.

“It was scary,” neighbor Bobby Kramer said. “I thought he was going to die in front of us. He looked like he was going to die in that moment.”

Kramer said his quick peek outside revealed the unexpected. He thought his house had been struck, but had no idea that a teenager had almost been hit while cutting grass.

”To my neighbors, I was walking out and said, ‘that lightning hit him’ ‚” Kramer described. “And they said. ‘yeah, I think so too.’ I mean it was, shocking.”

Moments earlier, a glance out the window alarmed neighbor Tracey Brown.

”He put his arms into the air, and then he fell to the ground,” Brown described. “I immediately yelled out to my husband. I said, ‘I’m going out there. He’s hurt. I bet he got hit by lightning.’ ”

Fortunately, the massive bolt did not directly strike the young grass cutter, but neighbors said he sat dazed and confused as they waited for emergency responders. The group also moved the boy inside Kramer’s garage workspace.

”I was afraid he was going to go into shock with it being so rainy and kind of cooled off with the storm was rolling in,” Brown said.

Neighbors said they also worried about their own safety as they stood by his side.

”They say lightning never strikes in the same spot twice, but I don’t believe that,” Brown laughed.

While we may often think we are safe from storms off in the distance, KY3 Weather Forecaster Nicolette Zangara says it is still risky to be outdoors as those gloomy clouds move in.

“Lightning can strike up to 12 miles away from a storm,” Zangara said. “So it doesn’t have to be actively raining or there doesn’t have to be a storm currently on top of you for there to be lightning in your area. Even though the chances are quite low, it doesn’t mean you should put yourself out in that risk.”

Zangara said a bolt of lightning can be very dangerous for several reasons.

“The average temperature of a lightning bolt is hotter than the surface of the sun,” she said. “That’s hotter than 50,000 degrees Fahrenheit. That’s not something you want to come into contact with, even if the chance is low.”

KY3 Chief Meteorologist Ron Hearst says getting struck by lightning can also cause a person to go into cardiac arrest. Hearst said a person struck by lightning does not carry a charge, so you can touch them after. He said it is imperative that you immediately render CPR to the person and work to quickly and safely move them indoors. Neighbors today said they immediately checked the teenager’s pulse and then eventually helped carry him indoors.

Zangara said her biggest advice is, “when thunder roars, go indoors.” She said if you are outdoors during storms, you want to get to a low area. You also want to avoid any tall, lone standing trees and any poles. She also said you do not want to be holding any metal or wet objects.

The Battlefield Fire Department said the teenager is okay. Neighbors said they certainly will not forget about this powerful flash of lightning.

”[I have] a brand new appreciation for it now for sure,” Brown said.

”[He is] pretty lucky, and he needs to buy a lottery ticket,” Kramer smiled. “Getting struck by lightning and living through it, that was crazy!”

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