CLAY COUNTY, Fla. — Three contractors working on a roof were hospitalized on May 28 after lightning struck one of the workers and caused the other two to fall from the roof.
Fox-affiliated WOFL report that emergency responders received a call around 2:40 p.m. in relation to a possible electrocution in a city southwest of Jacksonville. They arrived at the Middleburg Bluff Apartments, they discovered three people had been injured due to lightning.
They learned that the three workers were on the roof when lightning directly struck one of them. The victim went into cardiac arrest. According to independent TV station WJXT, neighbor Theresa Mcavoy recounted hearing a loud explosion like a cannon and called 911 after seeing the fallen roofer.
“One of the workers was checking his pulse, and I said, ‘Does he have a pulse? Is he OK?’ And he’s going, ‘No.’ And so then I’m asking the operator, ‘Do you want me to try to start CPR on him?’ and she says, ‘Yes, please,’ so I got down on my knees,’ Mcavoy told WJXT.
WOFL reports paramedics administered CPR and transported the roofer to the trauma center of a local hospital. The other two workers were taken to the hospital for minor injuries related to a fall from the roof. The names and ages of the victims haven’t been released.
Florida is notorious for lightning strikes and fatalities related to lightning. In July 2019, six people, including members of a roofing crew, were injured by lightning in Wellington, Fla. One of them, Romelia Ramirez, died as a result of being struck and falling from the roof. The roofing company was fined more than $17,000 by the Occupational Safety and Health Administration as a result of serious safety violations related to fall protection.
According to OSHA and the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, cloud-to-ground lightning occurs 20 to 25 million times a year and strikes more than 300 people.