CHICAGO (CBS) — Lightning strikes across the area ended the Fourth of July fun for four people.
Two people in Chicago and two others in Sheridan were hit Wednesday night.
In Sheridan, four-year-old Nova Esparza and 20-year-old Dawson Fuller are recovering after lightning hit a tree they were near. Nova’s family says she will be recovering in the hospital for five more days.
As for Dawson Fuller, CBS 2’s Vince Gerasole reports he is still feeling dazed by the incident and says he feels lucky to be alive.
“I am still dazed. I must have smacked my head when I got hit,” Fuller said.
Typically there are more strikes on the Fourth of July than any other day of the year.
Dawson Fuller says he can’t remember what happened after he was hit by lightning, but the same bolt also zapped the bark of the tree he was passing under as a storm rolled through Sheridan.
“I didn’t see anyone near me. I didn’t hear anything out of the ordinary,” Fuller stated. Fortunately, the off-duty firefighter who performed CPR on Fuller realized something was wrong.
Lightning strike survivors Dawson Fuller and Nova Esparza. Both struck last night at a baseball field in Sheridan, Il. Both alive b/c 2 heros, off duty firefighters from @yoloneci67975 & @StCharlesIL administered CPR. pic.twitter.com/lpFXEPJPb2
— Dorothy Tucker (@dorothyTV2) July 6, 2018
“I was 30 feet from the tree when it was struck. I felt the shock and the hair and knew,” stated Daren Peterson, the off-duty firefighter.
“Next thing I knew, I woke up at the hospital in DeKalb and I was freaking out,” said Fuller.
Lightning is one of the leading weather-related causes of death and injury in the U.S. It is caused by small bits of ice in the clouds bumping into each other, creating an electric charge.
On a much larger scale, it is similar to the static electric experiments on display at the American Science and Surplus.
“Things are bumping up against each other. They are creating that static charge,” explained Paul Seelentag of the American Science and Surplus. “And at a certain point, something’s got to give. It’s got to go somewhere. Electricity doesn’t like much resistance and the ground doesn’t offer much resistance.”
As many are told as young children, lightning is attracted to the tallest point in a particular spot, so you want to avoid being that target.
Lightning can travel far. Even if skies are clear overhead, you can be hit by a bolt that’s ten miles away.
Fortunately Dawson Fuller survived the lightning strike.
“I didn’t think I would be under a tree that was struck and I would get blown five feet off the ground!” Dawson exclaimed.
Authorities are issuing a reminder that no place outside is safe when thunderstorms are in the area. The national weather service says if you hear thunder, lightning is close enough to strike you, so move indoors. While indoors, stay off corded phones, computers and other electrical equipment. If you are stuck outdoors with no safe shelter, stay away from ponds, lakes, and other bodies of water.