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Two New Jersey Teens Killed by Lightning


July 24, 2006

Montvale, NJ.- A group of teenagers playing soccer were struck by lightning Saturday night as they were seeking shelter from a thunderstorm. Two of the teens were killed, while the other two were hospitalized. The four, all Bergan County residents, had arrived at Kurt Flagg Memorial Field around 6 p.m., police said. It was raining at the time, so they waited in their car for conditions to improve and, when the rain began to let up, they went to the field and began to play. A short time later it began to rain again, and one of the teens, 19-year -old Jordan Zubalsky saw a lightning flash nearby. He warned his friends, then he and another boy began running while the other two walked about 100 feet behind.

Zubalsky said when he reached the edge of the field, he heard a deafening thunderclap. He looked over his shoulder just as the bolt slammed down on his two friends, Lee Weisbrod, 19, of River Vale and Steven Fagan, 18, of Woodcliff Lake.

The force of the bolt threw Fagan 10 feet, Zubalsky said, and flattened Weisbrod. The 16-year-old unidentified teen, walking just steps behind Zubalsky, was thrown five feet.

Zubalsky ran to his friends, one of whom was unconscious while the other had the strength only to lift his head. He ran for his cellphone and called 911. He and the unidentified 16-year-old made it to shelter.

Zubalsky said he noticed later that the electricity had melted a strip of spikes from his soccer cleats.

Police officers from Montvale and neighboring Park Ridge soon arrived and tried to help the four injured boys, performing CPR and using a defibrillator on the more seriously injured victims.
The four teenagers were taken to Pascack Valley Hospital in Westwood. Zubalsky and the unidentified 16-year-old were treated and later released. Weisbrod and Fagan, who suffered severe burns and trauma, died around 7 p.m.

Weisbrod, a graduate of Pascack Valley High School, had just finished his first year at the University of Miami and had recently started work as a pizza deliveryman.

Fagan, who graduated this year from Pascack Hills High School, was scheduled to start work Sunday as a host at TGI Friday's.

"We knew what happened," Zubalsky said. "We just didn't know how to take it in. It was so hard to think about it."



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