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Florida man struck by lightning while using cell phone


June 21, 2007

Montverde, Florida-- A Lake County man was critically injured when he was struck by lighting while standing in the garage of his home while using his cell phone.

Trevor Duncan, 19-years-old, was talking on his cell phone to his brother when lightning struck him during a thunderstorm.

Duncan watched the rain pouring down through his open garage door at 15218 Arabian Way, when two lightning bolts shot into the garage and exploded in front of him.

"Right after the light faded from that explosion I started feeling by body go haywire," Duncan said in a telephone interview.

Chip Chenoweth of Lake-Sumter Emergency Medical Services said Duncan was unconscious when emergency responders arrived. Paramedics rushed Duncan to South Lake Hospital in Clermont, but he was later transported to Orlando Regional.

Duncan is one of more than 40 people injured each year by lightning in Florida. State wide lightning strikes kill about eight to ten people a year. Lightning kills an average of 66 people in the United States each year.

Russell Henes, a Tampa-based meteorologist with the National Weather Service, said the corridor between Orlando and Tampa is a hot spot for lightning activity.

"In the summertime, we are pretty much a thunderstorm laboratory," Henes said.

People should avoid using cell phones and computers while inside during thunderstorms and for the periods immediately before and after storms.

Henes said most people get struck just before a storm begins when it is not yet raining, or when they go outside too soon after the rain is over.

Getting struck by lightning can lead to cardiac arrest, burns and nerve damage.

Duncan is recovering but remains in critical condition at the Orlando Regional Medical Center's burn-trauma unit.

"It was the most excruciating pain you could ever feel," Duncan said.




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