Severe thunderstorms swept through the Washington D.C. area on Thursday evening, and in addition to heavy rain and high winds was plenty of lightning, including a bolt that struck in the near vicinity of the White House.
That bolt of lightning struck the ground in Lafayette Park, just across the street from the White House, and initial reports indicated that four individuals were injured by the strike and rushed to the hospital in critical condition, the Conservative Brief reported.
A lightning strike in Lafayette Park
The severe storms developed around 6:30 pm ET following a particularly hot and humid day, and though warnings were issued about the impending inclement weather, there were still plenty of people out and about in the nation’s capital.
A tweet from D.C. Fire and EMS less than an hour after the storms began noted that first responders were on the scene at Lafayette Park due to an “apparent lightning strike” and were “in the process of treating and transporting 4 patients, all in critical condition.”
— DC Fire and EMS (@dcfireems) August 4, 2022
Two dead, two in critical condition
Unfortunately, local Fox affiliate WTTG reported that two of those individuals, an elderly couple in their 70s from Wisconsin, had ultimately died from the injuries they sustained from the lightning strike that was caught on video.
UPDATE: 2 dead, 2 critically injured in lightning strikes in front of the White House pic.twitter.com/IVivIeQIfc
— BNO News (@BNONews) August 5, 2022
The local outlet noted that U.S. Park Police and Secret Service agents had witnessed the lightning strike and immediately rushed to the scene to begin administering CPR and other assistance to the four unconscious victims until members of D.C. Fire and EMS arrived to take over.
D.C. Fire and EMS spokesman Vito Magglio said, “What I want to do is thank them because their agents, their officers witnessed this lightning strike and immediately began to render aid to the four victims which is very critical in helping with survivability.”
White House offers condolences
NBC News reported Friday morning that the two other victims, who have not been publicly identified, were still hospitalized in critical condition, according to a spokesperson for the Metropolitan Police Department.
It remains unclear at this point if the two surviving victims were in any way related to the elderly couple that perished from the lightning strike that impacted all four of them.
White House press secretary Karine Jean-Pierre said of the horrible incident in a statement Friday morning, “We are saddened by the tragic loss of life after the lightning strike in Lafayette Park. Our hearts are with the families who lost loved ones, and we are praying for those still fighting for their lives.