Off-duty firefighter recovering after struck by lightning at Lake Wylie home

07/22/2014 9:12 AM

07/22/2014 9:20 AM

An off-duty volunteer firefighter was struck by lightning on Monday when he was cleaning water from the floor of his home as a storm raged in York County, dumping several inches of rain in Clover and Lake Wylie.

The firefighter was hospitalized at the burn center in Chapel Hill, N.C., but is expected to return home later today, said Bethel Volunteer Fire Chief Michael Laws.

At about 10:30 a.m., a bolt of lightning hit the man’s home in Autumn Cove subdivision, across from Crowders Creek Elementary School on S.C. 49. The bolt passed through an outlet and jolted into the firefighter’s body, Laws said.

The electricity entered the firefighter through his hand, he said, and exited through his foot. The firefighter was not on duty at the time of the incident, Laws said.

He was taken to a Charlotte hospital and then transported to Chapel Hill, where doctors performed extensive tests to determine if he suffered from any internal injuries. He is expected to return home Tuesday evening.

The family asked Laws not release the firefighter’s name or age.

“He is a four-year veteran with us,” Laws said, and “means a lot to the department.”

He added: “We’re hoping for a speedy recovery because he’s an asset to our community.”

Laws was grateful emergency personnel did not experience more catastrophes as a cluster of showers and thunderstorms roared through the county Monday morning.

His district, Laws said, was hit so hard that some firefighters reported that the water so deep some cars were floating in the road.

Weather officials estimate that about 5 inches of rain fell on the area Monday, said Alex Staarmann with the National Weather Service.

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