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Boy struck by lightning: 'I'm still alive'

TNS Regional News • Jul 9, 2014 at 10:08 AM

A 9-year-old boy struck by lightning while inside the kitchen of his Dayton home is expected to recover from what a doctor said is a rare occurrence.

Hunter Wilson, 9, was climbing on the counter at his Air Street home around 6:15 p.m. Monday when the family heard their son scream.

“All of a sudden we saw this big flash, and all of a sudden we hear this big boom,” said Sally Wilson, Hunter’s mother, who dialed 911 shortly after her son was shocked. “It rumbled the whole house.”

Thomas Krzmarzick, who is the medical director of the emergency department at Dayton Children’s Hospital, said cases like Hunter Wilson’s are rare.

“It’s a very sporadic one. We may not have any in a year, and then we get one or two,” Krzmarzick said Tuesday.

Krzmarzick said the effects of lightning can be devastating on the body, including deep burns to muscles and organs. Serious brain injuries, eye and ear injuries can also occur when lightning hits a person, according to the doctor.

Hunter Wilson’s mother said Monday night’s occurrence was one she never expected.

“I heard about it, but I couldn’t think it would hit so close to home,” the mother said. “Just to see him laying there last night on the couch, screaming; it was devastating.”

This newspaper spoke with Hunter Wilson on Tuesday inside a play area at the hospital, where he described his experience.

“My sister started to cry, and I stopped and I said ‘It’s gonna be OK, Emily. I’m alright. I’m still alive,’ ” Hunter Wilson said. “It threw me back, and my hair was sticking up and my arms were burning and everything.”

According to the National Weather Service, about 25 million cloud-to-ground lightning strikes occur across the United States each year.

“You can have an extremely active thunderstorm with lots of dangerous cloud-to-ground lighting that’s not producing strong gusty winds, not producing hail and has absolutely no tornado threat,” said Storm Center 7 Meteorologist Rich Wirdzek.

Wirdzek said it’s simple to know whether you are in danger.

“If you hear thunder, you’re already close enough to be struck,” the meteorologist said. “The sun can be out where you’re standing, but if there’s a thunderstorm within 25 miles, that lightning can go out from that thunderstorm.”

The weather service reports the U.S. has averaged 54 lightning-related fatalities each year in the last 30 years.

Dayton Fire Assistant Chief Paul Sheehan said he was not aware of any lightning related deaths within the city in the last year.

“A person getting struck is fairly rare,” Sheehan said. “As long as people stay away from windows, the risk goes down.”


By Drew Simon - Dayton Daily News, Ohio (MCT)

©2014 the Dayton Daily News (Dayton, Ohio)

Visit the Dayton Daily News (Dayton, Ohio) at www.daytondailynews.com

Distributed by MCT Information Services

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Storm brings lots of rain to area

Grab a sturdy umbrella! Northeast Ohio is expected to experience more summer thunderstorms through early this morning.

A frontal system with heavy rain and severe thunderstorms brought a ton of rain to already soaked lawns and gardens on Tuesday afternoon, said Martin Thompson, a meteorologist with the National Weather Service in Cleveland.

Locally, lightning caused an electrical fire in Roaming Shores, rain flooded  Bardmoor Boulevard, and strong winds snapped branches and took down two trees in the Ashtabula Harbor. Wind bent a utility pole on Route 531 in Geneva-on-the-Lake, rerouting traffic to Austin Road.

In Lake County, a tree fell on Burns Road in Madison Township, according to local officials and residents.

There was no swimming at Lake Shore Park in Ashtabula Township and Walnut Beach in Ashtabula because of severe weather conditions, officials said.

Although Ashtabula County received more than an inch of rain between noon and 2 p.m., it dodged the bullet — a possible tornado was reported near Mercer, Pa., according to the National Weather Service.

In Dorset, weather observer Greg Becker said they received 3/4-inch of rain by 3:30 p.m.

“It rained off and on and then we got one big blast (around 2 p.m.),” he said.

Today’s storms should leave our area by noon.

“Then we’ll have drier air,” Thompson said.


By Shelley Terry - Star Beacon, Ashtabula, Ohio (MCT)

©2014 the Star Beacon (Ashtabula, Ohio)

Visit the Star Beacon (Ashtabula, Ohio) at www.starbeacon.com

Distributed by MCT Information Services


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