Girl, 13, recovering after being injured by lightning strike in Garfield Park near conservatory

ByMaher Kawash via WLS logo
Thursday, August 4, 2022 4:15PM
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A 13-year-old girl injured by a lightning strike in Garfield Park Wednesday is recovering at Stroger Hospital, family said.

CHICAGO (WLS) -- A 13-year-old girl injured from a lightning strike Wednesday continues to recover at Stroger Hospital Thursday morning.

The girl's family said the teenager is doing OK. The extent of her injuries is still unclear.

Strong storms made their way through the area in the early afternoon, downing trees across the city.

The storm came in so quickly that many people were still in Garfield Park, with kids playing in the area and that was the case for the 13 year old. She was near the conservatory with her family.

Emergency crews were called to the 300-block of North Central Park Avenue at about 1 p.m. for reports of a girl struck by lightning, Chicago Fire Department spokesman Larry Merritt said.

It's still not clear if she was directly hit by the lightning strike or if she was near the area of ground where it hit.

Other families who were just feet away when they saw it happen described the sound as a gunshot.

"I didn't know if somebody got hit or not until they came out with her and then I was like, 'Wow, a whole child got hit," witness Jordan Garrett said.

"We actually thought it hit a tree," witness Daniel Jackson said. "But when we saw the ambulance and the fire department pull up, we knew somebody had been struck....I'm very shook up. and I feel for the parents."

The National Weather Service is reminding people there is no safe place to be outdoors when lightning strikes, making it critical for you to find shelter.

If you can't find any indoor space at all, they say it's important to avoid sheltering under trees and you should never lie flat on the ground.

Avoiding any bodies of water or objects that conduct electricity is also critical.

Roughly 5,000 lighting strikes were recorded between 1-2 p.m. from Lake County to Will County as the strongest part of the storm moved through the area, the weather service said, citing preliminary data.

About 40 million lighting strikes hit the ground in the United States each year, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, adding that the odds of being struck by lightning are less than one in a million.