3 dead and 1 critically injured after lightning STRIKES Lafayette Square near White House
Update: Among the four adults who were struck by lightning at Lafayette Square across the White House, three of the patients have died while a fourth still remains in critical condition, the Metropolitan Police Department confirmed a day after the incident.
Two of the people who died have been identified as James Mueller, 76, and Donna Mueller, 75, both of Janesville, Wis. The name of the third victim who died, a 29-year-old man, is being withheld pending family notification. An adult woman is still in critical condition, an MPD spokesperson said.
As many as four adults were hospitalized with 'critical life-threatening injuries' after an apparent lightning strike hit Lafayette Square on August 4, Thursday. The lightning hit just a few dozen feet from the White House, according to a DC fire official.
The victims were identified as two men and two women, according to fire department spokesperson Vito Maggiolo. Soon the members of the US Park Police and Secret Service uniformed officers witnessed the strike, they immediately rushed to provide life-saving measures, the fire official told The Daily Beast.
The rescue photographs were uploaded on Twitter by DC Fire and EMS, revealing the patients' conditions, captioning, "Apparent lightning strike Lafayette Park NW. #DCsBravest on scene in the process of treating and transporting 4 patients, all in critical condition." Lightning Safety Council retweeted the post and responded, "Unfortunately it sounds like a significant lightning casualty event near the White House this evening." A Fox Weather camera managed to capture the exact moment lightning struck the square. Here's a video below:
Maggiolo reported at a later press conference that the four fatalities were discovered in the park's center, just south of an Andrew Jackson statue. Witnesses told WUSA in Washington, DC, that they were standing behind a tree when the lightning struck. When there is lightning or thunder, officials advise the public to get indoors and seek shelter.
During the press conference, a DC Fire/EMS officer said, "If it roars, go indoors."
The National Weather Service issued a severe thunderstorm warning for the area between 6:30 pm and 7:15 pm on August 4, Thursday, with the Post's Capital Weather Gang reporting 60-mph winds and quarter-sized hail.
6:35p: Here’s a close up of the Severe T’storm Warning covering DC and most spots inside and around the Beltway until 7:15. 60 mph wind gusts and quarter-size hail possible as these storms move through, and of course heavy rain and dangerous lightning. pic.twitter.com/B32wD9MwZR— Capital Weather Gang (@capitalweather) August 4, 2022
Due to an ongoing investigation, the park was closed to visitors the night lightning struck, information about the fatalities, such as whether they knew one another or what they were doing in the park during the storm, is yet to be informed by the officials.
DC fire and EMS posted their statement on Twitter thanking the US Park police for responding to the scene immediately. The post captioned, "Statement from @dcfireems regarding the lightning strike at Lafayette Park - #DCsBravest express sincere gratitude to the Uniformed Division of @SecretService and officers of US Park Police/@usparkpolicepio for rendering immediate medical care to the injured. #SaferStrongerDC."
Statement from @dcfireems regarding the lightning strike at Lafayette Park - #DCsBravest express sincere gratitude to the Uniformed Division of @SecretService and officers of US Park Police/@usparkpolicepio for rendering immediate medical care to the injured. #SaferStrongerDC pic.twitter.com/3ubPNA3MXn— DC Fire and EMS (@dcfireems) August 5, 2022
The Firefighter / Emergency Technician Robin Williams was spotted comforting a child who had been trapped inside a crashed vehicle. DC fire and EMS tweeted, "Compassion is one of #DCsBravest Core Values, and it is exemplified here as Firefighter/EMT Robin Williams grabbed a diaper bag from the car and consoled the uninjured baby until family members arrived."
Compassion is one of #DCsBravest Core Values, and it is exemplified here as Firefighter/EMT Robin Williams comforts a child who had been inside a crashed vehicle. Williams grabbed a diaper bag from the car and consoled the uninjured baby until family members arrived. pic.twitter.com/2aPvV8vLli— DC Fire and EMS (@dcfireems) August 2, 2022