"Once the initial company got into the structure, they found heavy flames, and conducted a search where they found two victims. Both were taken outside, CPR was administered. Both were transported to area hospitals. One was airlifted to Chicago," Gary Fire Department Chief of Operations Mark Jones.
One lightning strike ignited a fire in a Gary home. A 9-month-old baby was airlifted to Comer's Children Hospital on Chicago's South Side. The man in the house with the baby, Jackie Allen, 42, was taken to another hospital where he was pronounced dead. Both suffered smoke inhalation but lightning did not strike either directly, fire officials said.
Paramedics performed CPR on both, but doctors pronounced Allen dead at the hospital.
The same storm cell minutes earlier shot a bolt of lightning toward a billboard in Gary, striking 28-year-old Angelo Santucci. The married father of two young children was working in the billboard at the time. His devastated family wants to know why.
"It was thundering, there was no reason for him to be out there. Whatever he was doing, a deadline or whatever, it was not that important for my husband's life," said Sonia Santucci, victim's widow.
"I'm upset 'cause he had no business up there. My son is gone. He had his whole future in front of him," said Elizabeth Sills, victim's mother.
A baby who survived the house fire triggered by lightning is being treated Thursday night at Comer Children's Hospital.