WELLINGTON, Fla. — A 20-year-old woman working on a roofing project in Florida has died from injuries caused by a lightning strike.
The Sun Sentinel reports that the woman, Romelia Ramirez, died on Aug. 9.
Ramirez was one of six people struck by lightning around 2 p.m. on July 30 while working on a roof in a townhome community in Wellington.
The Palm Beach County Sheriff’s Office states Ramirez was on the roof next to an air-conditioning unit when the lightning struck. She “took a direct hit” and fell from the two-story building, the sheriff’s office said.
One of the men with Ramirez struck his head while leaving the roof on a ladder. He and the other four men are expected to recover from their injuries.
Capt. Albert Borroto of the Palm Beach County Fire Rescue Dept. called the incident “a fluke storm that developed rapidly.”
The National Lightning Safety Council has reported this as the third lightning-related fatality for Florida in 2019. According to the council, 15 percent of work-related deaths between 2006 and 2018 were caused by lightning killing someone who was roofing.
Lightning strikes are among the top safety threats for roofing contractors, says RC Safety Advice columnist Chip Macdonald. A 59-year-old man in Africatown, Ala. died from a lightning strike in June while working on a roof, and in 2016, a lightning strike claimed the life of a 29-year-old man working on a roof in Southern Florida.
A total of 12 lightning-related deaths have occurred this year. The National Lightning Safety Council reports an average of 27 people in the United States have died from lightning strikes since 2009.