CHICAGO (CBS) — An 18-year-old man and a 4-year-old girl were critically injured in a lightning strike just before the Fourth of July fireworks show in far southwest suburban Sheridan on Wednesday.
Dawson Fuller, the 18-year-old victim, was recovering in the hospital on Thursday and in a text said:
READ MORE: Chicago Police Union President Urges Aldermen To Repeal Mayor's Vaccine Mandate For City Workers; 'This Tyrant At The Top Needs To Stop What She’s Doing'
“This is Dawson. I am shaken up but would love to send my thanks to the guys that helped me. It was brave and very selfless of them to step in when I needed them the most. I will be forever grateful for everything they did for me to keep me alive and to wake up next to my family this morning. I would like to meet up with them and thank them in person sometime soon.”
St. Charles Fire Department Capt. Darin Peterson was off duty Thursday evening, and drove to Sheridan to watch the fireworks with his family.
Before the show could begin, thunderstorms moved in, and he knew there might be trouble.
Peterson said he was pulling up to Robertson Field to park his car, when he saw a lightning bolt hit a large tree near the baseball field.
“At that time I saw several people run. I saw one gentleman collapse and hit the ground. I went over to assist him; started rescue breathing and CPR,” he said.
Peterson said a paramedic from Plainfield also jumped in to help, but there was another victim.READ MORE: Chicago Weather: Showers Wrap Up, But Temperatures Remain Chilly; Lakeshore Flood Advisory In Effect
“I went over to the second patient. Found a young female in cardiac arrest, and started rescue breathing and CPR on her,” he said.
Five minutes into giving that 4-year-old girl CPR, an emergency room doctor from Rochelle showed up.
“It’s just the right place at the right time, and we hope for the best outcome,” Peterson said.
The 18-year-old man and the 4-year-old girl were taken to hospitals in critical condition. Peterson, a 25-year veteran firefighter, said CPR is a critical part of the rescue.
“I encourage everybody to take a CPR class and go out and learn CPR; because that truly is, if anything, what saved these two individuals,” he said.MORE NEWS: CBS 2 Vault: Serial Killer John Wayne Gacy Talks Exclusively With Walter Jacobson In 1992 Series Of Special Reports
The 4-year-old girl was still in critical condition Thursday morning at Children’s Hospital of Illinois in Peoria. The 18-year-old was awake and talking Thursday morning at Northwestern Medicine Kishwaukee Hospital in DeKalb.