Three workers hurt in lightning strike

Kent County nursery employees sought shelter amid storm

Maryland

June 29, 2007|By Chris Guy and Liz F. Kay | Chris Guy and Liz F. Kay,sun reporters

Three workers at a Kent County nursery were injured yesterday after lightning struck near them as they sought shelter from a storm, a farm supervisor said.

The day before, an Oxon Hill teenager was struck and killed by lightning while waiting at a bus stop.

The 2,000-acre Angelica Nurseries Inc., in rural Kennedyville, employs about 200 Hispanic migrant workers, said supervisor Chris Atkinson. He was called to the scene because he is trained in cardiopulmonary resuscitation.

Atkinson said the employees were following procedures by trying to get to a Ford Econoline van because of reports of violent storms in the area.

They suspect lightning struck near the van or the CB radio antenna on the truck, Atkinson said.

Kent County Emergency Services received word about the incident about 2:55 p.m., according to a news release.

Atkinson said one man was temporarily paralyzed by the lightning. He was taken to Christiana Hospital in Newark, Del. The other two were taken to Chester River Hospital Center in Chestertown. All were expected to be released last night, Atkinson said.

Names and ages of the men were not released.

The two less seriously injured men appeared dazed but were sitting in the van when Atkinson arrived, he said. The third man was lying on the ground but had been covered with a jacket because of the downpour, Atkinson said.

Like the others, he was "coherent and conscious" but could not move, the supervisor said.

None of the three speaks English, but a bilingual supervisor translated for them, Atkinson said.

He said the nursery monitors weather on office computers.

"I'm just glad no one was killed," Atkinson said. "You've got to keep a close watch, but we've got to make a living."

The 18-year-old woman killed in Prince George's County on Wednesday was struck when an isolated thunderstorm rolled through the area, authorities said.

The Prince George's County Fire Department said the young woman was talking on her cell phone at a bus stop in Oxon Hill about 2:30 p.m. It was raining, and officials said lightning hit a tree and then the woman.

Officials said utility workers from a Potomac Electric Power Co. crew administered CPR. The woman was pronounced dead on arrival at Greater Southeast Community Hospital, officials said.

Her identity has not been released.

chris.guy@baltsun.com liz.kay@baltsun.com

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