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New Jersey Teen in Critical Condition after Lightning Strike


June 14, 2007

Cherry Hill, N.J.-- A teenage boy remains in critical condition at Temple University Hospital burn unit in Philadelphia, PA. after being struck by lightning during a thunderstorm on Tuesday afternoon.

14-year-old Zachary Yizzi, an eighth-grade student at Carusi Middle School in Cherry Hill, New Jersey, was walking just two blocks from his home when he was struck by lightning while seeking shelter under some trees in the 300 block of Monroe Avenue, just after 5.30 p.m.

"A neighbor called and said his wife heard a loud bang, looked out the window and saw a child laying face down next to a tree with his shirt on fire," police officer Lt. Bill Kushina said.

Rescue workers arrived just minutes after receiving the emergency call. The boy's shirt was still "burning and smoldering,' according to Battalion Chief Rick Harris of the Cherry Hill Fire Department.

Remnants of the Zachary's charred clothes were still stuck to a tree near the lightning strike on Wednesday afternoon.

Zachary's heart had stopped and needed three charges from a defibrillator to start again, Harris said. He was taken to Cooper University Hospital in Camden, but later transferred to Temple University Hospital.

"It was bad, the individual was struck by lightning and it was pretty much as worse as it can get," Lt. Arthur West said.

On average, New Jersey has one fatality a year from lightning, according to Ray Kruzdlo, a meteorologist at the National Weather Service in Westampton. The state ranks in the bottom 20 in the nation for lightning fatalities.

According to the National Weather Service, the odds of being struck by lightning are about 1 in 600,000.





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