FILE PHOTO: Visitors walk past an overgrown tulip bed in Lafayette Square after the fence was opened to allow public back inside the park after a closure that lasted months outside of the White House in Washington, U.S., May 10, 2021. REUTERS/Leah Millis
WASHINGTON (Reuters) -Four people were in critical condition on Thursday after an lightning strike at Washington’s Lafayette Square in front of the White House, a D.C. fire official said.
The injured – two adult males and two adult females – were transported to area hospitals with life-threatening injuries, Vito Maggiolo, a D.C. Fire and EMS spokesperson, said.
Lafayette Square, a seven-acre public park that lies directly north of the White House, is often crowded with visitors, especially in the summer months. The lightning struck the four people near a tree that stands yards away from the fence that surrounds the presidential residence and offices.
Temperatures in Washington exceeded 90 degrees Fahrenheit (32.2 degrees Celsius) on Thursday, although, with the high humidity, the heat felt like more than 100F, forecasters said. A violent thunderstorm swept through the capital late in the day.
Officers of the U.S. Secret Service and U.S. Park Police, which have a regular presence in the square, went to the assistance of the victims immediately, Maggiolo said.