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Lightning strikes Clearwater Beach, injuring at least 8

Posted: 3:11 PM, Jul 21, 2019
Updated: 2019-07-21 18:22:40-04
Lightning strikes Clearwater Beach in Florida, injuring at least 8

CLEARWATER, Fla. — At least eight people are injured after lightning struck Clearwater Beach in Florida on Sunday afternoon, according to fire rescue officials.

One man in his 40s was directly hit by the strike, the Clearwater Fire Department says. He went into cardiac arrest and is in critical condition at Morton Plant Hospital.

At least four others are being transported to area hospitals for treatment, with at least one suffering from burns. Officials say three others refused transport.

It happened around 12:42 p.m. in the beach area behind Frenchy's Rockaway Grill.

The extent of additional injuries is unknown at this time.

"Beachgoers should take cover and go to a safe place when lightning and thunder are present. As a reminder, Clearwater Fire and Rescue uses the phrase: when you hear the roar, go indoor," the fire department says.

This picture shows conditions at the beach just before the lightning strike.

clearwater-storm.png

Officials say lifeguards at the beach left their towers around 12:30 p.m. due to bad weather, minutes before the 911 call came in for the strike.

This comes as lightning is blamed for at least three fires around the state Saturday.

Fire rescue officials say lightning is behind a fire at McLane Middle School in Brandon, Florida, and a home fire in Town 'n' Country, Florida

This video from Saturday night shows intense lightning over St. Petersburg, Florida.

This story was originally published by Emily McCain on WFTS .